We all know how super important Vitamins are for our health don’t we?
Vitamin D is one of those extra special vitamins and because it’s pretty difficult to get enough vitamin D, Via D deficiency is very, very common.
So… let’s talk about how much of this fat-soluble vitamin we actually need, and how you can get enough.
The three ways to vitamin D are:
- Exposure to the sun
- Consuming vitamin D containing food
- Through supplements.
Why is vitamin D important, and how much do we need?
Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium from our food and acts like a hormone to help us build strong bones. Vitamin D can also help with immune function, cellular growth, and help to prevent mood imbalances such as depression and seasonal affective disorder.
Not getting enough vitamin D can lead to some bone diseases too. Plus, inadequate vitamin D can also increase your risk of heart disease, autoimmune diseases, certain cancers, and even death. The “official” minimum amount of vitamin D to strive for each day is merely 400-600 IU. Many experts think that this is not nearly enough for optimal health.
To ensure you get adequate amounts of vitamin D, you can implement any combination of the three vitamin D sources mentioned above on a weekly basis.
How can I get enough vitamin D from the sun?
Your skin makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun (that’s why it’s referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.) How much vitamin D your skin makes depends on many things. Location, season, clouds, clothing, all affect the amount of vitamin D your skin can produce from the sun. One standard recommendation is to get about 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to the face, arms, legs, or back. This should be done WITHOUT sunscreen, at least twice a week. Of course, we should always avoid sunburn and in some locations (like rainy old Blighty) it’s not easy to get sun exposure at all sometimes.
So, how can we get enough vitamin D in other ways?
How can I get enough vitamin D from food?
Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks. Some mushrooms make vitamin D when they’re exposed to the sun.
Some foods are “fortified” (which means vitamin D has been added) with vitamin D. These include milk, some orange juices, breakfast cereals, and yogurt. It will say on the label how much vitamin D has been added per serving.
Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, you can increase absorption of it from your food if you eat it with some healthy fat. Between sun exposure and food, it still may be difficult to get even the minimum of 400 IU of vitamin D each day, this is why vitamin D supplements are quite popular.
How can I get enough vitamin D from supplements?
It’s easy enough to just “pop a pill” which will ensure that you get the minimum amount of vitamin D, but before you take vitamin D supplements, make sure you check that it won’t interact with other supplements or medications you may be taking. Always read your labels, and ask a healthcare professional for advice.
Do not take more than the suggested dosage on the label of any vitamin D supplement, except under medical care.
The maximum amount recommended (for the general population) is 4,000 IU/day. Too much vitamin D can raise your blood levels of calcium (to an unsafe level), and this can affect your heart and kidneys. The best thing, if you’re concerned, is to ask your healthcare professional to do a blood test and make a recommendation about how much vitamin in supplement form is right for you. Your healthcare practitioner may recommend higher amounts of vitamin D supplementation for a short time while under their care
My favourite Vitamin D supplement at the moment, comes in spray form – one squirt contains 3000IU/day – done and dusted! Plus they do a children’s formula which mine LOVE! Click here to view this product.