By Betty Murray
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is primarily known for it’s role in promoting healthy, strong bones. But vitamin D does more for the body than prevent osteoporosis and protect the bones from fractures.
A vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression, diabetes, some cancers, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, asthma, heart disease, obesity and even dementia.
What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?
The best way to be sure 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 much vitamin D do I need?
Rather than wait until you are diagnosed with a serious health condition, take steps to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D in your diet. Adults should get a minimum of 1000 to 2000 IU of vitamin D, though your doctor may recommend more or less depending on your current health situation. The maximum daily dose of vitamin D is 10,000 IU and an overdose of vitamin D can result in toxicity.
What foods contain vitamin D?
You can get some vitamin D by taking a daily multivitamin, but there are also several foods that contain vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D include:
- 3 oz Salmon and tuna — 200-400 IU
- 1 cup milk (fortified with vitamin D) — 115 IU
- 1 cup orange juice (fortified with vitamin D and calcium) — 100 IU
- 1 cup cereal (fortified with vitamin D) — 40 IU
- 1 whole egg — 25 IU
- 2 oz Swiss Cheese — 12 IU
Vitamin D from the sun
For most people, a brief 10 to 15 minutes in the noontime sun each day is enough to produce at 10,000 IU of Vitamin D. Ironically, vitamin D is also one of the known protectors of the skin cells from pre-cancerous changes. It is the sun’s UV-B rays that produce vitamin D in the body, but sunscreen blocks UV-B rays, which are only present in midday sunshine during the summer.
How do you get vitamin D from the sun without getting skin cancer?
The Vitamin D council suggests wearing a hat to protect your head and face from sun damage, while exposing other parts of your body to the noontime sun. Overexposure can lead to sun damage, sun burn and skin cancer. Do not spend more than 15 minutes in the sun without wearing sunscreen. At the first hint of sunburn, go inside.
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.