We love fooducate.com with all their great health information. Check out this article about keeping up on your Vitamin D during the winter months:
“Vitamin D helps the body absorb and regulate calcium and phosphorous levels. Without it, our bones don’t get enough calcium and as a result become thin and brittle.
Vitamin D manufactured by our body after exposure to sunshine’s ultra-violet rays, but is also found in some foods. It is a fat soluble vitamin, and must be consumed together with a small amount of oil, butter, etc… to be effectively absorbed by the body.
People used to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D just by being outdoors, but lifestyle changes have led to drastic reduction in exposure for most people. People today spend less time outdoors compared to the past. Often, even when outdoors, exposure to the necessary UV rays is inhibited by sunscreens.
Despite this, vitamin D deficiency related diseases such as Rickets are almost nonexistent in the Western world. The US and other countries have been fortifying milk with vitamin D as a public health measure for decades.
According to the National Institute of Health, anyone over the age of 1 needs 600 IU (International Units) of vitamin D. One microgram of vitamin D is equivalent to 40 IU. Seniors over the age of 70 need 800 IU. today nutrition labels on food products don’t indicate how much vitamin D is present in a product, but a future version proposed by the FDA, will include this information.
Spending just 10 minutes in the summer sun with short sleeves and no sunscreen can produce 10,000 IU of vitamin D. The body can retain vitamin D for some time, but come winter, that’s not enough.
That’s where food comes in. The best food source of vitamin D is a teaspoon of cod liver oil (1,360 IU), but most people dread just the sound of that, not to mention the taste. This is actually a misconception, as many supplement brands today offer an almost tasteless product. Other oily fish such as herring, sardines, salmon, and tuna are also good sources of vitamin D. Most people don’t consume enough of these either.
That leaves us with fortification in food products. Virtually all milk sold in the US today is fortified with 100 IU (International Units) of vitamin D per cup. Other foods, such as cereals and yogurts, are also fortified with vitamin D.
What happens if this is not enough? Should you supplement?
Since vitamin D is so hard to obtain from sunshine and food, some nutrition experts recommend vitamin D supplements, even if an individual is eating healthfully. If you are not sure about your vitamin D levels, speak with a health professional and get a simple blood test done.
There are several forms of vitamin D supplements on the market. The two most popular are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is often preferred because it is more biologically active. Vitamin D2 is derived from yeast or fungus, which makes it the choice of vegans. Vitamin D3 is usually derived from animal sources, but there are some vegan versions out there, derived from lichen.
The sources for vitamin D are sunshine, fatty fish, and fortified foods. If these cannot supply your need, you may have to supplement.”