I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that people are talking about vitamin D more often these days. It’s like it was a little known nutrient that suddenly won American Idol and now it’s all anyone can talk about.
Turns out, most of us are deficient in this previously ignored vitamin and it’s far more important than anyone realized. The short story on vitamin D is that it’s essential for the absorption of calcium into our blood stream. We simply cannot metabolize calcium without it. A deficiency in vitamin D will cause thin, brittle bones and can cause Rickets in children. Vitamin D protects from Osteoporosis and bolsters the immune system. It plays a role in the reduction of inflammation and the modulation of cell growth. Vitamin D keeps our muscles healthy and our brains sharp. Do you need more reasons to make sure you get enough vitamin D?
So how much Vitamin D do we really need to keep our bodies strong?
As you can see, most of us fall into the 15 mcg a day. What in the heck is mcg? That’s micrograms folks and that amount of vitamin D can be obtained by eating one- 3oz serving of salmon or 3 cups of fortified milk!
Vitamin D is available through good, old-fashioned sunshine, but most of us don’t get (or want) enough time in the sun to absorb the amount of vitamin D we need to be healthy. Many varieties of milk (including soy) and orange juice are fortified with vitamin D and any calcium supplement worth its beans comes with vitamin D. You can also increase your yogurt consumption, but it takes almost 5 servings to get what you need!
I normally don’t make a case for supplements, but unless you’re making a concerted effort to get your milk (or oj), fish and eggs every day, get a supplement. You can get vitamin D on its own or paired with calcium, but for your good health make sure you’re getting your 15 mcg a day of vitamin D.
To read more about Vitamin D, I recommend these sites:
Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind
World’s Healthiest Foods: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=110