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All Your Vitamin D Questions Answered!

Vitamin D guide for quick answers!

Why do We Need it? 

  •  It helps the body to absorb calcium which in turn plays a huge part in the bone-building process
  •  Provides healthy immune support so the body can properly fight off infections and prevent diseases
  • Aides in supporting a healthy brain and nervous system
  • It helps keep our emotions in balance
  • Protects us from many types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer and prostate cancer
  •  Prevents hypertension, stroke, and cardiovascular disease

 

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?

The following is based on research from the Institute of Medicine. Assuming that a person gets hardly any vitamin D from sunshine (ALL Minnesotans during the winter months!) -- and that this person gets enough amounts of calcium -- the IOM committee recommends getting the following amounts of vitamin D from diet or supplements:

  • Infants age 0 to 6 months: adequate intake, 400 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 1,000
  • IU/dayInfants age 6 to 12 months: adequate intake, 400 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 1,500 IU/day
  • Age 1-3 years: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 2,500 IU/day
  • Age 4-8 years: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 3,000 IU/day
  • Age 9-70: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day
  • Age 71+ years: adequate intake, 800 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day

 

Who is most likely to Suffer from Vitamin D Deficiency?

  • People over fifty- the skin receptors that change UV-B light into Vitamin D weaken as we age. Maybe this is why all the seniors flee to the south in the winter!
  • Persons of color and darker skinned white people. Melanin in the skin will protect you from harmful UV light, but ironically will also slow down your absorption of D from UV-B light. Darker skinned people actually need more sun exposure than fair-skinned people to produce Vitamin D3.
  • Persons with liver, kidney or metabolic disorders, whose bodies are not able to fully process and metabolize D3.
  • Persons taking pharmaceutical medications that interfere with Vitamin D metabolism.

 

How do I get Vitamin D?

  • Natural sunlight
  • Supplements
  • Food

Surprisingly few foods contain vitamin D -- unless it's added to the food. That's because your body is built to get vitamin D through your skin (from sunlight) rather than through your mouth (by food). Unfortunately sunlight isn't always available to us. Here are some super foods that do have Vitamin D:

  • Salmon (especially wild-caught)
  • Mackerel (especially wild-caught; eat up to 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury)
  • Mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light to increase vitamin D

Other food sources of vitamin D include:

  • Cod liver oil (warning: cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A; too much may be bad for you)
  • Tuna canned in water
  • Sardines canned in oil
  • Milk or yogurt -- regardless of whether it's whole, nonfat, or reduced fat -- fortified with vitamin D
  • Beef or calf liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese

Written By: Annie Stanz

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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