Some foods, such as certain fish or grains, contain vitamin D, but sunlight is the best source. If your location or underlying medical condition prevents you from getting enough, you may need a vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that if you’re taking a supplement, you’ll need to take your pills with a healthy fat, like avocado slices. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced by the body when the sun hits the skin. However, many people turn to supplements during the colder months of the year, when cold, dreary days limit time outside.
Low vitamin D levels are not just a winter problem. Most of us have too low a rate all year round. Definitions of what exactly constitutes vitamin D deficiency vary from less than or equal to 12 nanograms per milliliter (12 ng/mL) to a high of less than or equal to 20 ng/mL. The deficiency is particularly common in men, likely due to increased weight, reduced milk consumption and increased use of sunscreens outdoors. This drop is a problem because the vitamin can help the gut absorb calcium, which ultimately promotes strong, healthy bones. Vitamin D also helps reduce inflammation and promote immune function and cell growth.
How much vitamin D should you take?
Adults need 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day (800 IU if you’re over 70), which you can get from sunlight, food, or supplements.
Vitamin D2, the plant form of vitamin D, is found naturally in mushrooms. Food sources of vitamin D3 include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, fish liver oils and egg yolks.
Are you experiencing these common nutritional deficiencies?
However, very few foods contain enough vitamin D to meet the recommended daily intake, and the sun can be unreliable in some climates. Men and women who get vitamin D only from food usually do not exceed 288 IU per day on average. But when you add supplements, you’ll get closer to your 600 IU goal. Consider this: Women ages 51 to 70 who averaged 156 IU from diet alone reached 404 IU with supplements.
Recent research on vitamin D supplements
Researchers found that people who developed cancer died 25% less when they took vitamin D. In addition, observational studies showed a link between low vitamin D levels and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is a randomized controlled clinical trial published in 2019. in June in The New England Journal of Medicine failed to reach a firm conclusion. Vitamin D3 supplementation at 4,000 IU per day did not significantly reduce the risk of diabetes compared to placebo.
However, the “sunshine vitamin” is also a “well-being vitamin”. A vitamin D treatment at the beginning of winter is ideal to stabilize your mood and have a good holiday.
Why some people may need a vitamin D supplement.
Why are certain groups at risk of low vitamin D levels? In most cases, this can be blamed on their diet or lifestyle. Take vegans for example. Many of them have low levels of vitamin D because they avoid foods rich in vitamin D, including meat, fish, egg yolks, and dairy products that have been fortified with the vitamin. in 2016 February. A study published in PLoS One found that serum vitamin D levels were 34% lower among study participants who followed a vegan diet compared to those who ate meat and dairy products.
However, there are ways to include vitamin D in your diet as a vegan. For example, plant-based milk drinks, such as those made with soy, oat, and almond, are often fortified with vitamin D. Check the Nutrition Facts label for the actual amount.
Obese people may also need supplements
Research has suggested that possible reasons for this deficiency include lower vitamin D intake in obese men than in non-obese men and women, and the possibility that obese people are less exposed to the sun (this is not simply due to poorer absorption). ), and a decrease in the rate of vitamin D absorption in people who have undergone bariatric or gastric bypass surgery. In fact, one study suggested that recommendations for vitamin D goals should be based on body weight, rather than just suggesting 600 IU per person.
As for the elderly, they are at risk because they spend more time indoors and because the process of synthesizing vitamin D from food or sunlight becomes less efficient with age, according to previous research.
How do you know if you are getting too much or too little vitamin D?
Worried that your vitamin D levels are too low? Common symptoms of deficiency include fatigue and body aches, but often there are no symptoms. The best way to know for sure is to ask your doctor, who can do blood tests and measure your vitamin D levels.