How to get enough vitamin D in South Dakota

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Vitamin D may not be easy to come by naturally in a state like South Dakota.

Dr. Ken Diamond of Diamond Family Medicine says it’s vital for good bone health, but many of us don’t get enough.

“Here in the northern latitudes, we can be pretty well-assured that unless you’re drinking 8 and 10 cups of milk a day, you’re not getting enough vitamin D,” Diamond says.

Exposing your bare skin to sunlight is one way to get vitamin D. And there are also foods such as cod oil, milk and cereals that are fortified with the vitamin. But Diamond says people don’t spend as much time outside. Which is why supplements are essential.

“We just don’t spend that much time outside like we did in centuries past,” Diamond says. “When we’re inside - when we’re clothed, we’re using so much sunscreens - we don’t make the vitamin D like we should. So we take supplements and we look to food sources to make up the difference.”

And it’s even more important for women of all ages to be getting their vitamin D fix. Diamond says osteoporosis becomes a threat, especially when estrogen levels decrease with age, causing a loss in bone mass.

It’s recommended that adult men and women take 1200 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D daily.

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