Three Ways we get vitamin D
Gallery: Vitamin D Foods [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
Summer’s here and the sun is shining! The sun is one way that we get vitamin D. It’s called a vitamin but actually it acts more like a hormone – sending messages throughout the body to several organs and tissues. It is used for more than just building strong bones. According to the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D plays a role in such ailments as asthma, cognitive impairment, diabetes, respiratory infections, and various types of cancer.
The skin has the ability to convert sunlight into a useable form of vitamin D. In order for this to happen, you must spend time in direct sunlight (without a cover, shade, or sunscreen). There isn’t an agreed upon amount of time that we should spend in the sun and it all depends on where you live and the strength of the sun’s rays. The beauty of this is that the sun is free and readily available. The down side is that most of us don’t spend much time in the direct sunlight uncovered.
Unfortunately, vitamin D is found in very few foods, and the ones that do have natural vitamin D are not necessarily high in the vital nutrient. Among highest on the list are cod liver oil, salmon, oysters, mushrooms, and egg yolks from a farm where chickens are roaming in the sunlight. Aside from this small list, there are more foods that don’t naturally have vitamin D, but are fortified with the vitamin such as milk, orange juice, and cereals.
If you don’t spend much time in direct sun and you aren’t eating oily fish, mushrooms, and pastured egg yolks regularly, you may need to supplement with vitamin D. Before starting a supplement it’s best to get tested and know your baseline. It’s a simple blood test that any doctor can request. Although 30ng/dL is considered normal, the optimal range is 60-80ng/mL. Supplementation can start as low as 500IU and range as high as 50,000IUs, averaging about 2000IU daily. Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin it is possible to take too much, so after starting a supplement it would be wise to get retested. Keeping your vitamin D levels optimal is vital for feeling your best. Plus you get to enjoy this great Louisiana summer!
About the author: Daphne is a food passionista, farm girl wanna-be and registered yet unconventional dietitian with a private practice – My Food Coach. She focuses on unprocessed, real food and balancing the diet with your lifestyle. Visit her website at myfoodcoach.tv