By Donna Mischke, Director of Family Services at Concierge Care Advisors

Does anyone else remember their grandmother taking shots of cod liver oil daily? As a child, I was horrified at the thought of this and honestly thought she was crazy. However, it looks like my Mee-maw knew exactly what she was doing. She did live an exceptionally long, productive, and healthy life. She almost reached 100 years old. We all know just how important Vitamin D is now for a healthy immune system. We must have Vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth along with many other especially important bodily functions. Low levels of Vitamin D have now been linked to many cancers, heart diseases, depression, and weight gain. Recent research even indicates that the proper amounts of Vitamin D can also help prevent autism, help autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, the flu and osteoporosis along with many other viruses and diseases. Even scientists studying our recent Covid-19 pandemic are noticing that extremely low levels of Vitamin D may put patients at a higher risk for contracting a more serious case of the virus.

Vitamin D can be obtained from several sources with sunlight being the most common and least expensive. Experts say that exposing your arms and legs for 20 minutes in the mid-day sun can usually produce more than enough of the daily supply. Not only can the sun increase your daily Vitamin D level, it can also elevate your mood. Sunshine improves our moods and increases our serotonin levels. Different people will need different amounts of sun based on their skin tone, age, health history, diet and where they live, so always talk to your doctor about the right amount. Most people will greatly benefit from somewhere between 10 to 30 minutes of sun daily between the hours of 10am and 3pm.

If you live in an area where the sun seems to hide for most of the year, then get what you can when you can and try to get your Vitamin D from other sources. As I mentioned above, a teaspoon of cod liver oil can provide over 100% of your daily Vitamin D needs. It also provides Vitamin A and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. This can help reduce inflammation and improve bone health. There are also many other benefits to cod liver oil including gut health, mental health, and arthritis. Overall, cod liver is an excellent source of Vitamin D and extremely healthy. It is always important to check with your doctor before taking cod liver oil as it can act like a blood thinner and the dose may need to be adjusted if you take blood pressure or blood thinning medications.

There are many other ways to include Vitamin D in your diet including mushrooms, fish, eggs, beef, supplements, and UV lamps. If you are not able to get sunshine daily, find other ways to get Vitamin D because it really is so important. The body will make Vitamin D all by itself after sun exposure. It really can be a vital part of being healthy and disease prevention. If all other methods fail and your doctor approves, take a few teaspoons of that cod liver oil, and enjoy a long healthy life.