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Know Your Vitamin D

Getting Some Vitamin D from the UVB\'s

Everywhere I turn these days, I either see an article on vitamin D or hear a doctor saying that we should all add vitamin D supplements to our diet.  Apparently it’s the vitamin of choice these days. A lot of you are probably wondering what the big deal is.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that our body creates when our skin is exposed to the sun’s UVB rays. However, one needs ten to fifteen minutes of sun exposure twice a week without sunscreen to get a sufficient amount of vitamin D.

What Does Vitamin D Do?

Vitamin D helps promote the absorption of calcium and plays an important role in preventing osteoporosis, osteomalacia and rickets, which are all diseases where bone density is decreased making them soft or brittle.  Preliminary studies have shown that vitamin D may also aid in the prevention of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, gum disease, heart attacks and mood disorders.

Where Can Vitamin D be Found?
Vitamin D mainly comes from sun exposure through the sun’s UVB rays.  But it can also be found in foods and dietary supplements. Due to the increased risk of skin cancer that UVB rays can cause, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that we try to obtain all our Vitamin D from foods and supplements.

Vitamin D can be found naturally in herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna, catfish, sardines, cod liver oil, beef liver and egg yolks. Too much fish, however, can increase your intake of Mercury.  Vitamin D can also be found fortified in milk, some juices, cereals and other products. Many people are choosing to take vitamin D supplements to ensure that they get the recommended amount, while minimizing their sun and mercury exposure.  If you buy vitamin D pills, make sure to buy vitamin D3, also called cholecalciferol, rather than vitamin D2, since vitamin D3 appears to be more effective.

How Much Vitamin D is Recommended?

The US Institute of Medicine recommends 200 IU a day up to the age of 50, 400 IU from ages 51 to 70, and 600 IU over age 70.  Since vitamin D is important for bone health and preventing other chronic conditions, the US Institute of Medicine is considering increasing the recommended amount in the future, so keep an ear open and an eye out for any changes in dosage.  I’ll be watching for it as well.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Research has shown over and over again that vitamin D is important for maintaining good health.  It is important for good bone mineral density and can reduce your risk for some diseases.  As a bonus, it is really easy to fix a vitamin D deficiency. So, make sure that you get enough vitamin D in your diet.

Comments (15)

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  1. You know, I didn’t know until about ten years ago, the connection between the sun and vitamin D. I am not a milk drinker so I make it a point to find the required supplement in other foods like some of the ones you’ve mentioned.

    This is a very informative post!

  2. Rosy says:

    Good information. For the last couple of months, I made it a point to sit outside for 15 minutes without sunblock on a daily basis and wow does it also help my moods. It just lifts my spirits. When the weather gets too cold or rainy, I just make sure to take my supplement. Oh and by the way, I always wear sunblock. I apply it 30 minutes before I leave the house (just had to add that in).

  3. I saw the Dr. on GMA saying to get Vit D3 and that is what I got, which reminds me I need to take it.

  4. Great post! This is very good information- especially for us preggo’s! I think I’d rather make sure I obtain enough vitamin D through food or sun- just cuz I’m not one to take a ton of supplements…but thanks for sharing which ones are better!!! 🙂

  5. cathy says:

    This is a really good article that discusses vitamin D. It discusses the different sides of supplements and sunscreen usage since there are conflicting messages out there concerning sunscreen usage to avoid skin damage as much as possible and sunscreen interfering with vitamin D production. Check it out – it’s very well balanced: http://www.miller-mccune.com/article/612

  6. Talli van Sunder says:

    Thank you Cathy for the comment. Interesting article you linked to there.

  7. Talli van Sunder says:

    Maija, I see you are very passionate about this subject. My sister is a Naturopathic Doctor and recommends a much higher level as well. However, there are no mistakes in this article. This article merely gives the current recommended levels by the U.S. Institute of Medicine, which I mentioned is considering raising these levels to higher onedue to the more recent studies that have been conducted on its health benefits.

    There is nothing dangerously low about the numbers provided. They might not give the full health benefits that you might garner by taking higher dosages, but the number will not harm you.

    Some practitioners recommend 1,000 I.U.’s once a day. Some recommend 2,000 I.U.’s. At this point, there is no definitive number on what is the ideal amount. I leave that up to the person reading the article and their medical professional.

    As far as omissions, this article is merely intended as a starter to get people thinking about vitamin D and its importance. Your article provides a much more detailed look into vitamin D for those that are looking for incredibly deep levels of information. For anyone that is interested I recommend they check it out.

  8. Great Post, I believe that Vitamin D will prove to be a more widely supplemented vitamin in the years to come. Media has made us so afraid of the sun and slathering on the sunscreen. But most of us live in climates that do not allow us to make enough Vitamin D form conventional sun exposure. Supplementation is Key!

  9. Jaimie says:

    my stepmom takes 1500 extra and the doc said also it is because of her polish heritage…they need extra D because it is also a hereditary factor…….

  10. Talli van Sunder says:

    @Jaimie That is a very good point. People of certain heritages might need more Vitamin D for different reasons because their bodies create less Vitamin D in the sun, such as certain darker skinned peoples. Another example would be how some lighter skinned people burn too easily and can’t be in the sun long enough to get sufficient Vitamin D.

    I wasn’t aware that Polish people needed extra Vitamin D. That is very interesting. Thanks for telling us.

  11. Mark Salinas says:

    I like to get as much as possible…I don’t age and never burn! Ok… I am just kidding, my wife is obsessed with making certain that her and the kids always use sunscreen. This post reminds us that we could use some sun although moderately! Nice post! 🙂

  12. […] Know Your Vitamin D: Vitamin D is so important.  Many of us live in climates where we are not able to get adequate sun exposure.  Here is more information on how important Vitamin D is. […]

  13. […] For those people who want to learn more about caffeine, please go back and listen to Show 20, where I cover that topic. Also if you are interested in more information on Vitamin D, please go back and read the blog post “Know Your Vitamin D.” […]

  14. I read this with interest as since the time this article was written about Vitamin D there have been more and more exciting new discoveries about the health benefits of this super vitamin.
    Unfortunately, due to the fashion to cover up and slap on the sunscreen Vitamin D deficiency is also becoming a problem.
    We take Vitamin D daily but we live in the high latitudes where it is very dark in winter.
    Nice blog!

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