Vitamin D deficiency affects more
than 40% of Americans. And, the numbers are even more alarming for people with darker skin color.
But, as surprising as this may sound, eating more dairy foods and spending time outdoors are not a guarantee that your body is getting and using enough vitamin D. And, unfortunately, most people don't even realize the significant health consequences of a vitamin D deficiency.
For example, weakness, depression and "unexplained" aches and pains are some symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency. In addition, low vitamin D levels can lead to serious health problems, even increasing the risk of premature death.
However, contrary to popular belief, increasing levels of vitamin D may not be enough to protect your health if you’re not getting the right amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals.
Discover the 5 nutrients which will help you absorb MORE vitamin D
The vitamins and minerals within our
body work together in an interconnected way. It’s possible to take in adequate
amounts of one vitamin but not reap the benefits because you are lacking
Therefore, let's focus on the cofactors needed for vitamin D to work well inside your body including:
Boron: Only small amounts of boron are needed for good health, but those small amounts are essential. Together, boron and vitamin D help bones make use of the minerals they need to be strong and healthy. And, in case you're wondering: organic nuts, fruits and leafy green vegetables are good sources of boron.
Magnesium: This mineral is needed for the body to convert food into energy. It also helps the body make use of other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. And, again, eating leafy greens like organic kale or Swiss chard, whole grains, nuts and seeds will give you a good amount of magnesium.
Vitamin A: This vitamin and vitamin D
are cofactors that help your genetic code. In other words, without enough vitamin A, vitamin D cannot
do its job efficiently.
On the other hand, too much vitamin A can cause other problems. The two main types of vitamin A are beta-carotene and retinol. So, eat bright orange and yellow fruits and vegetables for beta-carotene and small amounts of raw dairy products and organ meats for retinol.
Vitamin K: Like boron, vitamin K works with vitamin D to strengthen bones and help them make use of calcium. And, yes, you can find vitamin K in leafy greens, organ meats, eggs and cheeses.
Zinc: Vitamin D works together with zinc to ensure bones develop properly and stay strong. The body doesn’t store zinc, so it’s important to eat zinc-rich foods or supplements every day. Red meat, wild-caught seafood, poultry and legumes are good sources of zinc.
How much is enough?
The Recommended Dietary Allowances
(RDA) for most nutrients can be met through eating a healthy diet. However, due
to age, genetic predisposition or existing illness, many people may require
higher levels of some vitamins and minerals. Certainly, much greater than the RDA suggests.
concerned about low levels of vitamin D, get a simple blood test. Ideally, you should be between 40-80 ng/ml. Sadly, too many people actually score below 30 ng/ml.
Bottom line: if you're low in vitamin D, be sure to work with a qualified healthcare provider to help you with your nutritional needs.
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Sources for this article include: