Vitamin D Demystified

Vitamin D Demystified

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D, like other vitamins, helps your body be as healthy as possible.  Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and together as a team, they keep your bones strong, preventing bones from becoming brittle and easily broken. Vitamin D also helps the muscles, brain, and immune system work better to keep you stronger, smarter, and healthier. Both children and adults need Vitamin D!

Here are Five Fast Facts about Vitamin D:

  1. Vitamin D can be made by your body.
    1. Some of the Vitamin D your body needs is made when you’re exposed directly to the sun – however, because the sun also increases the risk of skin cancers, it is suggested that people find another way to get the recommended amount.
  2. Vitamin D is found in certain foods.
    1. Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are the best sources of Vitamin D.
    2. Milk is usually fortified with 400 IU of Vitamin D per quart.
    3. Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of margarine, yogurt, orange juice, and soy milk.
    4. Some mushrooms provide some vitamin D.
    5. Cheese and egg yolks have small amounts.
    6. Check the labels to see what percent of the daily value these foods provide.
  3. Most people aren’t getting enough Vitamin D!
    1. 77% of Americans have low Vitamin D levels.
    2. There are certain groups that are at a higher risk:
      1. Breastfed infants because human milk doesn’t have enough Vitamin D. They should be given a supplement each day.
      2. Older adults because their body can’t make it as well as it used to.
      3. Dark-skinned people, because their skin doesn’t make it as efficiently.
      4. Obese people, because their body fat prevents it from getting into the blood.
      5. People Crohn’s or celiac disease, because they have problems absorbing Vitamin D.
    3. Ask your doctor to check all of the vitamin levels in your blood, including Vitamin D.
  4. Taking Vitamin D and calcium supplements can prevent osteoporosis (bone loss).
    1. Women are at higher risk of bone loss starting after menopause, but men are also at higher risk after age 70.
    2. Start early! Studies have demonstrated that taking the daily recommended values of Vitamin D and Calcium in your 20s and 30s greatly reduces your risk of bone loss and fractures in old age. It’s never too late to start!
  5. An investment in Vitamin D supplements is a smart idea!
    1. Drug stores sell both individual and combined Vitamin D + Calcium supplements.
    2. Take a look at the nutrition label to make sure you’re getting at least 100% of the daily recommended value (see table below).
    3. Many stores also have different brands of gummy vitamins that taste great! Make sure you take the recommended number, however, since some require you take 2 or 3 gummies per serving.

Many stores also have different brands of gummy vitamins that taste great! Make sure you take the recommended number, however, since some require you take 2 or 3 gummies per serving.

Milk is a great source of Vitamin D and Calcium. One cup of milk provides about 25% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin D and 30% of the Calcium. http://dairyspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Vit-D-image.jpg

Milk is a great source of Vitamin D and Calcium. One cup of milk provides about 25% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin D and 30% of the Calcium. Source

Here is a table with the recommended values of Vitamin D by age:

Life Stage

Recommended Amount

Birth to 12 months

400 IU

Children 1–13 years

600 IU

Teens 14–18 years

600 IU

Adults 19–70 years

600 IU

Adults 71 years and older

800 IU

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

600 IU

You can find more information here: Vitamin D Quick Facts

 

Sources: 1, 2