Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced mainly in our skin in response to sunlight. This vitamin can affect as many as 2,000 of the estimated 20,000 genes in the human body! That it a lot of genes. Of its important functions, regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and facilitating normal immune function are vital. Other important functions are fighting disease and depression, and boosting weight loss.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which means it will dissolve in fat, and is stored in the fat throughout the body. The best source of vitamin D is the sun. A few minutes in the sun each day can provide adequate amounts of vitamin D. The challenge we have in our northern hemisphere is in the winter months; we have less hours of daylight, more cloud cover, and it is often too cold to be outside, even on the sunny days.
Another way to get vitamin D is through food, but there are very few foods that contain vitamin D. Some sources include cod liver oil, wild-caught salmon, tuna, beef liver, and egg yolk. I don’t know about you, but cod liver oil does not sound too appetizing! If you do decide to use cod liver oil, here is a link to an excellent source from Green Pasture Products.
Milk, orange juice, cereal, and yogurts can be fortified with vitamin D, but this is normally vitamin D2 which is not the best form of the vitamin as you will see below.
Supplementation: Little sunlight and few food options to obtain your daily vitamin D may make it necessary to supplement vitamin D during the winter months.
There are two forms of vitamin D: D2 and D3. Studies have consistently shown that vitamin D3 is at least 300% more effective than D2 and is easier for our bodies to absorb. When supplementing with vitamin D, one of the most important thing is not whether it’s in the dry or oil form, but that you take your vitamin D with your largest meal of the day to provide better absorption. Taking vitamin D with food can increase absorption 30% to 50%. It is a good idea to take the supplement with a little bit of fat as it is a fat-soluble vitamin.
The recommended daily allowance for adults from 19-70 years old is 600 IU’s, and if over 70 years old the recommendation is 800 IU’s. These amounts are pretty low, and some health professionals are suggesting higher amounts. It is best to work with a trusted health care provider when supplementing.
I know the question as whether to supplement or not can be confusing; there are so many options and not knowing the best form for our bodies to absorb with any supplement adds even more confusion. I hope this information has been helpful for you.
Did you have to take cod liver oil as a kid? Any funny stories???
Disclaimer: This website is for general information only. This information provided is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Do not rely on information provided here for your own health conditions. If you have specific questions regarding your own health, raise them with your primary care physician.