You’ve probably heard all about the immunity benefits of vitamin C – but today it’s time to move one letter down the alphabet. It turns out that vitamin D may actually be the more critical vitamin when it comes to fighting off colds. An important member of Dr. Oz’s anti-aging checklist, vitamin D plays a number of roles in our bodies, including:
- Promoting absorption of calcium and bone health
- Boosting immune function
- Reducing inflammation
- Healthy neuro-muscular function
- Protecting against some forms of cancer
For such an amazing nutrient, vitamin D doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, perhaps because very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. The best sources are salmon, tuna and mackerel (especially the flesh) and fish liver oils. Beef liver, cheese and egg yolks also contain small amounts. If these foods don’t sound very appealing to you, there is good news: you don’t have to eat vitamin D to make sure you’re getting your daily dose! Vitamin D is actually produced in your body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike your skin. The UV rays trigger synthesis of vitamin D, which then gets converted in your liver into its active form.
This means one of the best ways to get vitamin D is to spend about 10-15 minutes a day outside in the sun. Keep in mind that wearing sunscreen will prevent you from getting adequate vitamin D outdoors. In the summertime, an easy solution is skipping sunscreen on your legs for the first 15 minutes in the sun. Just make sure you apply in time to prevent any burns or damage.
So exactly how much Vitamin D should you aim for each day? For all ages, Dr. Oz recommends a daily dose of 400 IU (and perhaps even as high as 1000 IU).
So if preventing colon, prostate and breast cancers, building strong bones, fighting off colds, and slowing aging sounds like a good deal to you – look for in all in one simple package: vitamin D.