Are you feeling fortified today? Good - it's likely your Vitamin D level is up to snuff. But, if you're feeling a bit brittle, grab a glass of milk and head outdoors. Both milk and sunshine are excellent sources of Vitamin D. Milk because it's been fortified with the vitamin since the 1930s; sunshine causes a photochemical reaction in the skin, resulting in natural production of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is particularly critical to the health of our bones, and deficiency has been linked to rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis. Rickets is a childhood disease, and osteomalacia a bone thinning disease. Osteoporosis, of course, is a disease resulting in weaker bones and increased risk of fractures.
Until recently, it was believed that adequate exposure to sunshine was a sure fire way to fill up your Vitamin D tank. But, scientists from the University of Wisconsin now say that may not be the case. They studied the effect of sunshine on Vitamin D levels in people living in Hawaii. Hmm... I wonder if their research forced them to travel to the sunny isles in the middle of the harsh Wisconsin winter...
They found even the sun-drenched denizens of Hawaii, averaging over 20 hours per week outside, were not guaranteed adequate Vitamin D levels. In fact, 51% of those studied actually had a Vitamin D deficiency.
The researchers say, in light of these results, they will establish ongoing studies and winter in Hawaii for the next several years.Photo courtesy of thiagofest.