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Vitamin D facilitates skeletal growth and strength, working with calcium and phosphorus to be absorbed better. It also strengthens your immune system by increasing the activity of "natural killer cells."

You can get this vitamin by eating fatty fish (catfish, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna) eggs, and meat. In more developed countries, staple foods such as milk, flour, and margarine are artificially fortified with vitamin D. Mushrooms are the only vegan/vegetarian food source of vitamin D.

Our skin cells actually make this valuable vitamin when they come in contact with UV rays from the sun, but research shows that darker skinned people living in temperate climates (like the United States) have lower vitamin D levels. The reason behind this is that melanin (the pigment of our skin) actually prevents the synthesis of Vitamin D. The darker complexion you have, the more likely your body isn't producing enough Vitamin D for itself!

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A deficiency is not readily noticeable, so talk to your doctor about getting tested for Vitamin D levels - it's a simple blood test.

And if you still need some convincing, vitamin D has been linked to healthy hair follicle growth!

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kjc23, i'm just passing along information from my doctors. I live in Texas and walk outside every day to campus, work, etc yet I had a Vitamin D level of about 12. Normal levels are around 40. Also, saying "darker" skin doesn't single out "black" people. Nobody is trying to lie about anybody. My doctors recommended the blood test for South Asians, Pacific Islanders, and people of African descent that live in temperate climates. I'm taking vitamins and now my levels are back up. -evelyn
That's a bunch of b.s. "the darker the skin the less likely Vit. D synthesis" you NEVER heard of Black folks getting rickets. STOP LYING ABOUT OUR SKIN!!!

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