FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Importance of Vitamin D

by Mary Gallagher, RN, MSN, CCRN

Feb 1, 2018
February 2018

DESPITE ITS NAME, VITAMIN D is a prohormone and not a vitamin. Vitamins are nutrients our bodies cannot create which we must obtain through diet and supplements. Our bodies can synthesize vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin. We need vitamin D to aid the absorption of calcium and phosphorous by the bones and teeth, making bones stronger.

Muscles need vitamin D in order to move, and nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part. The immune system uses vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D also helps regulate insulin levels and aids in diabetes management. It supports lung and cardiovascular health.

Lack of vitamin D affects bones and other parts of the body. Growing children who do not get enough vitamin D may have bones that are too soft and unable to support their weight, a disease called rickets. Adult deficiency can result in soft bones (osteomalacia) and decreased bone mass, leading to fragile bones. Vitamin D deficiency may also contribute to the development of certain cancers, especially breast, prostate and colon cancers. Being deficient may increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis as well as infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and seasonal flu.

Research shows children given 1,200 international units of vitamin D per day in the winter reduce their risk of influenza A infection by more than 40 percent. Several studies show an inverse relationship between blood concentrations of vitamin D and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Infants who received 2,000 international units per day of vitamin D had an 88 percent lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes by age 32.

Pregnant women deficient in vitamin D seem to be at greater risk of developing pre-eclampsia and needing a cesarean section. Inadequate vitamin D in pregnant women is associated with gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis. However, high levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are associated with an increase in food allergy in the child in the first two years of life.

You can obtain vitamin D three ways: through your skin, from your diet and from supplements. Individuals should get 10–15 minutes of exposure to sunshine three to five times a week. Food sources of vitamin D include cheese, butter, margarine, fortified milk, eggs, yogurt, fish, fortified cereals and juices. Cod liver oil and good fatty fishes such as cod, sardines, swordfish, sockeye salmon, mackerel and canned tuna are excellent sources. As it is difficult to get vitamin D from food sources alone, you may take vitamin D supplements in the form of D2 (ergocalciferol) or D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D breaks down quickly; stores of it in the body run low, especially in the winter.

An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of vitamin D, and deficiencies can be found in all ethnic and age groups. Industrial countries have seen a resurgence of rickets, previously largely eradicated through vitamin D fortification. If you live north of the line connecting San Francisco to Philadelphia or Athens to Beijing, odds are you do not get enough vitamin D from sun exposure. African-Americans and those with dark skin, as well as older individuals, tend to have lower levels of vitamin D, as do people who are overweight or obese.

Signs of vitamin D deficiency include depression, frequent illness or infection, fatigue, painful bones and back, muscle pain, hair loss and impaired wound healing. Chronic vitamin D deficiency can result in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The most accurate way to measure the amount of vitamin D in your body is the 25- hydroxy vitamin D blood test. If you have not had the test lately, ask your health care provider to have one drawn. A level of 20 nanograms/ milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates deficiency.

There is a scientific debate about how much vitamin D people need. Those at high risk of deficiency may need more. Check with your health care provider about the amount you need. If you live where there is sun year-round, you may not need supplements as long as you get enough sun. Vitamin D3 supplements of 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 micrograms) should be enough for those who do not have access to the sun. The only way to know if you need a vitamin D supplement is to have your blood levels measured. Vitamin D is essential, and correcting a deficiency is simple, cheap and can have immense health benefits.

DAILY DOSE
Recommended vitamin D dietary intake by age:

Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
1–13 years: 600 IU
14–18 years: 600 IU
19–70 years: 600 IU
71-plus: 800 IU
Pregnant/breast feeding women: 600 IU

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Mar 5, 2021

3 Recipes for Lent from New Orleans’ Top Chefs

The Lenten season continues through April 3. This year, New Orleans’ top chefs share some Lent-friendly recipes for at-home dining.

What To Expect When Flying: oneworld Debuts Information Portal

Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.

January/February 2021
Mar 5, 2021

Indulge in the Seductive Splendor Bora Bora

I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.

January/February 2021
Mar 4, 2021

Set Your Sights on San Antonio’s Art, Culture and Green Spaces

San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.

Adventure Redefined: Volvo Overseas Delivery Program

Are you looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own refined adventure of a lifetime. You can custom order your new Volvo, tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.

Daily
Mar 4, 2021

SoJo Spa Club: Tranquility with an Urban View

When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.

eFlyer Deals
Mar 3, 2021

Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel’s Reopening Offers

Dance the night away with Grand Hotel’s Ballroom Dance offer, available May 16–18. Dancers of all skill levels will experience a diverse range of ballroom dance styles, alongside daily breakfast and dinner, a welcome reception and complimentary golf green fees.

Peace of Mind

IHG® Business Edge provides small- to midsized enterprises with benefits and confidence to navigate the evolving business travel environment.

eFlyer Lead
Mar 3, 2021

4 Travel Experiences for Women’s History Month

March marks Women’s History Month, and there are a number of ways to celebrate through travel. Here are just a few ideas to honor women in history.