It’s a question I often hear and a subject line often seen. I will try to break it down in a very simple, readable way! (And as always, comments and questions are always wonderful!)
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed by the body. The main role of the vitamin is to assist in keeping bones healthy. It helps promote absorption of calcium from foods, helps keep blood levels of calcium and phosphorus normal, and is needed for bone growth. Vitamin D also is related to immune function and reducing inflammation.
What are sourced of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D (and its partner, calcium!) is found milk. Vitamin D can come from the sun. (About 15 minutes of sunlight for fair-skinned people and about 3 hours for dark-skinned people will provide enough vitamin D for several days!!). Vitamin D is also found in fish oil, some types of fish (salmon, halibut, herring, tuna, oysters, and shrimp), and fortified cereals.
Sounds simple to get enough, right? Well, then why is there so much hype about people lacking in Vitamin D…and what about our pregnant mommies? Are they getting enough to supply themselves and a growing baby?
How can you find out if you are Vitamin D deficient?
The best way to tell if we are deficient is with a blood test! Ask your doctor to order a test during your next visit!
Where are the deficiencies stemming from? For one thing, if you live too far from the equator, you are not getting enough sunlight. Another reason comes from a lack of milk drinkers and an increased consumption of juices and soft drinks. (source: Bringing Vit D to Light: A Guide For Health Professionals, webinar presented by DietitianCentral.com).
How much should I be getting?
|AGE (yrs)||Calcium (mg/day)||Vitamin D (IU/day)|
|Pregnant or breastfeeding women||1,000-1,300||1,000-2,000|
Source: The Permanente Medical Group, Inc; 2009
Is there danger in taking too much Vitamin D supplementation?
Currently, the research does not show strong evidence for this. And ultimately, at this stage of research, you would need to take upwards of 40,000IU/day, for up to 3-4 months. –Very difficult to do!
What are the best Vitamin D supplements?
According to Nichole Haynes, MS, RD, CSR, LDN: There is D2 in over the counter, as well as D3. D2 at 50,000IU, is only a prescribed dosage. So, the dilemma does not necessarily lie within which one is best, it depends on how often you would like to take the supplement, how much money you are willing to spend and how often your blood levels will be tested. The only research that has shown which could be the better one, is merely that D3 supplementation has been the better form with cancer research.
Simply put: Drink milk, get adequate sunlight, and have your blood levels tested. And as always, to improve bone health even more; keep active, refrain from smoking, and keep alcohol intake low.