More and more studies are showing how important vitamin D is to women’s health and women aren’t getting enough of this essential vitamin. Studies show you can increase levels through both your diet and supplements. To get enough vitamin D from the sun, you need to spend about 5 to 15 minutes in the sun, just three times each week, without sunscreen. Too much sun exposure can cause sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer, so make sure you limit your exposure. Also, you can expose your arms and legs, but you should always protect your face with sunscreen. If you don’t feel safe in the sun, turn to your diet and a vitamin D supplement to get the vitamin D you need Vitamin D promotes the body’s absorption of calcium, a mineral that helps keep bones and teeth strong. Vitamin D also regulates the body’s calcium levels in the blood, as well as levels of the mineral phosphorus, which helps promote healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D deficiency can be serious, causing bones to deteriorate and weaken. In adults, a vitamin D deficiency can lead to the bone condition osteoporosis and, in children, it can cause rickets — soft and weak bones. Look for discounts on your vitamins when you purchase your health insurance coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
More research is needed, but, vitamin D also appears to have many other beneficial effects. Studies have shown that vitamin D in sufficient levels can help boost the immune system and possibly decrease the risk of getting some cancers. Research shows that Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of broken bones , breast cancer, colon cancer, autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, viral infections, such as the flu and, high blood pressure.
The body produces vitamin D, but it needs sunshine to do it right. You can also take a vitamin D supplement or get vitamin D from certain foods. Foods that are rich in vitamin D include: Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and oysters , Vitamin D-enriched cereal, Some eggs (but the hens must have been given vitamin D), Vitamin D-fortified orange juice, margarine and butter, Vitamin D-fortified milk, dairy foods including cream and cheese.
How much vitamin D do we need? This depends on gender and age. Get too little vitamin D, and you’ll feel the effects of vitamin D deficiency. Too much of it and your blood can contain too much calcium, harming your lungs and heart. Here are the standard recommendations for vitamin D for women:
Age 14 to 50: 200 international units (IU)
Age 51 to 70: 400 IU
Age 71 and older: 600 IU
The information contained herein is not a substitute for medical advice. It is only for reference and should not be used to determine treatment for your specific medical condition. Only a health care provider can do this.
For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our qualified agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). You may qualify for a 15% healthy lifestyle discount if you are in excellent health. Call us for details.