By Betty Murray
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for strong bones and teeth. Working with other vitamins, minerals, and hormones, vitamin D promotes bone mineralization. A deficiency in vitamin D increases the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. It has also been associated with an increased risk for depression, diabetes, certain cancers, autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, asthma, heart disease, dementia, and memory loss.
After exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, the body produces vitamin D naturally. It is also found in certain foods, and can be consumed in a supplement as well. The maximum daily dose of vitamin D is 10,000 IU (International Units), though the recommended dosage is 600 IU for people 1-70 years old, and 800 IU daily for those over 71.
For most people, just 10 to 15 minutes in the noontime sun each day is enough to produce the daily recommended dose of vitamin D. Even during the winter, going outdoors can boost the body’s vitamin D levels, but when it is cold outside, it’s less appealing to spend much time outside soaking up the sun.
What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?
The best way to determine if you’re getting enough vitamin D is to have a blood test to measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood. A long-term vitamin D deficiency may result one (or several) serious health problems. If you experience any of these symptoms or ailments, it may because you aren’t getting enough vitamin D.
- Muscle weakness
- Chronic kidney disease
- Periodontal gym disease
- Heart disease
How can you be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D this winter?
Second to spending time outdoors, eating a diet rich in vitamin D is the best way to boost your vitamin D levels naturally. Just three ounces of cooked sockeye salmon contains about 447 IU of vitamin D. Other foods containing vitamin D include: fatty fish, tuna, shellfish like shrimp and crab, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, some mushrooms, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and ready-to-eat cereals that have been fortified with vitamin D.
If you continue to experience a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your health care provider about a vitamin D supplement. Most multivitamins provide 400 IU of vitamin D, though your physician may recommend higher doses of vitamin D based on your current vitamin D blood level. It is important that you consult your physician before you begin taking a vitamin D supplement, as toxicity may occur with high doses.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.