Big D

Mar 1, 2006
Outside Magazine

YOU KNOW HOW SOME STARS get all the attention, when it's really the supporting characters who carry the show? In the quest for better health, strength, and vitality, calcium is one nutrient that's been hogging the spotlight, but the fact is, vitamin D does most of calcium's heavy lifting. Vitamin D facilitates the absorption of calcium, which is part of the reason both are added to milk and juices. Calcium may contain the material to keep your bones strong, but it's vitamin D pulling that calcium out of your digestive tract and feeding it into your bloodstream, where your bones can use it. It's also long been known that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with muscle weakness. Since we produce vitamin D via sun exposure, deficiencies have typically been confined to the elderly, who don't go outside much. But with people spending more time indoors and using more sunscreen when they do go out, doctors are seeing a resurgence in vitamin D deficiency. And anyone so low on vitamin D that they're suffering muscular weakness is probably also walking around with dangerously brittle bones.

The Vitamin D Plan For Strong Muscles
»Read labels on dairy and juice products; some are fortified with vitamin D, but products like yogurt and cottage cheese might not be.
»Eat cold-water fish; salmon, sardines, and tuna are all excellent sources of vitamin D.
» Expose uncovered skin to sunlight (yes, sans sunscreen) for 10 to 15 minutes a few times each week. This isn't a license to start sunbathing, though. Just getting your forearms or face out there will give you all the vitamin D you need.

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