Vitamin D Facts
Recently I’ve had a lot of people ask me about vitamin deficiencies and what we should be supplementing with. The problem arises particularly when we process foods with preservatives, pesticides or other chemicals that we see a major shift in lack of vitamins and minerals that we get from our foods. Therein lies the fact the controversy of organic foods having higher levels of natural vitamins. But what about non-essential vitamins that we generate naturally from other sources?
If we look at Vitamin D it is actually classified as a non-essential vitamin because our body generates it from other sources such as sunlight. However, the problem is that in the winter many of us do not get enough sunlight and skin doctors now mention that because many of us are now using sun-block creams this results in insufficient generation of vitamin D.
Just 20 minutes of sunlight a day would allow our bodies to generate adequate Vitamin D levels so it does come as a surprise that researchers are noting that most North Americans do not have enough Vitamin D. So what are the common problems associated with Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D Fact: Deficiency Problems
Vitamin D malnutrition can be linked with a number of chronic diseases including:
- Osteoporosis – brittle bones and increased fragility of bones which is a major problem for us as we get older
- Cardiovascular disease & high blood pressure
- Immune System Problems – Vitamin D plays a critical role in our immune cells so lack of prevents our bodies from fighting viruses, bacteria and fungi making us more prone to the common flu, tuberculosis and even Multiple Sclerosis
- Cancer – Numerous long term studies dating as far back as 1970 have shown that Vitamin D has significant protective effects against the development of cancer
Vitamin D Fact: Daily Requirements
Men & women over 18 should have a minimum of 200 IU/day and those over 51 should have a minimum of 400 IU/day. However, many experts in the medical field believe that adults should take 800-1000 IU/day to prevent osteoporosis and protect against cancer especially if you are not getting much sunlight. Institute of Medicine is revisiting Vitamin D recommendations and report is expected in spring of 2010.
Vitamin D Fact: Toxicity
You can’t overdose on Vitamin D your skin makes and it’s unlikely to overdose from food, but the US & Canadian Dietary Associations have indicated that under 2000 IU/day is safe. Vitamin D Toxicity problems include nausea, mood changes and organ damage. Check with your doctor to see what is recommended for your specific age, sex and health.
Vitamin D Fact: Food Sources
Very few foods are naturally rich in Vitamin D, but milk is often fortified with 125 IU per glass. Other foods highest in Vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, and beef. Lately you will also see other foods such as cereals and orange juice that are fortified with Vitamin D.
Vitamin D Fact: Supplement Safety
Are Vitamin D supplements safe? Yes and often recommended by doctors especially if you are over 50, don’t get much sunlight, are a vegetarian or don’t drink milk.
Top Vitamin D Supplements:
Have any questions/comments about Vitamin D? Please leave a comment below…