Getting enough Vitamin D is a Catch-22 dilemma. The essential vitamin (that is actually a hormone) helps with your metabolism, reduces bone loss, and boosts immunity. Experts say that one of the best sources of vitamin D is from the sun—but UV rays can cause skin cancer, which affects roughly 5 million Americans every year, according to the AARP.
The recommended daily intake, or DRI, for vitamin D is between 600 IU’s daily for most adults and 800 IU’s daily for those over the age of 70. Nicole Avena, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, tells Eat This, Not That! that vitamin D deficiency can be subtle, so look for these signs:
- Western Journal of Medicine found that vitamin D deficiency can cause muscles weakness. Fortunately, this condition is reversible.
- Lethargy and fatigue. According to the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, low levels of energy have been associated with lack of vitamin D, especially in cancer patients.
- Bone loss. Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone metabolism, says Healthline. Having adequate levels of vitamin D is especially important for seniors suffering from bone loss and increased risk of fractures.
- Hair loss. Stress can trigger hair loss, but low levels of vitamin D can also be the culprit, especially in women.
- Depression. Known as “the sunshine vitamin,” this nutrient offers many health benefits as well as relieving depression. According to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, and by the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D can help improve people’s mood. Low levels of vitamin D were linked to depression in older adults, according researchers, who advised taking supplements or increasing sun exposure. Foods rich in this important nutrient include fatty fish or fortified dairy products, according to Healthline.
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