Summer is the time to soak in some rays and get a healthy dose of Vitamin D to store for the winter months ahead.  How do you get Vitamin D safely without risking a sunburn? What if you live in the city? Why is it important? What happens if you don’t get enough? 

How much Vitamin D do I need?

The recommended amount of Vitamin D is a topic of debate in the medical world.

  • The Vitamin D Council recommends adults take in 5,000 IU (international unit).
  • The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends 600 IU a day for ages 1-70
  • The Endocrine Society suggests that 2,000 IU/day is enough.

What if I don’t get enough Vitamin D?

The studies are still out, but here’s what we know:

  • The amount of people with a Vitamin D deficiency is reaching an all-time high.
  • Studies are linking deficiencies to an assortment of health issues and diseases. 

Vitamin D plays an important role in bone growth and development by absorbing calcium and helping regulate the immune system. It is commonly known as “the bone vitamin,” but research shows that Vitamin D acts more like a hormone rather than a vitamin. Almost every tissue type in our body has receptors for Vitamin D and need it for optimal performance.  Receptors are abundant in your heart, pancreas, and brain. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and depression. 

“Vitamin D probably affects every disease.”
Robert P. Heaney, MD, expert from Creighton University

How much Vitamin D Do You Need?

How do you get enough of it if experts don’t agree on the amount needed?  Dr. Heaney studied Vitamin D, osteoporosis and physiology for over 50 years, and the key to his recommended amounts was the measurement. His studies started at 2000 IU per day, and he then measured again 6 months later. If they still tested in the normal range, they would stick to that amount, but if they weren’t, they would double it and continue measuring. Considering genetics, input, and output, recommendations depend on the individual. If you haven’t had a Vitamin D test, most doctors include them in annual physicals. Depending on the amount in your blood they might suggest over-the-counter supplements or start you on a prescribed amount and continue regular measurements. 

How do increase your Vitamin D intake?

Getting outside and exposing your skin to the sunshine for ten minutes each day can help raise your levels of Vitamin D. Be sure to protect against sunburn. 

Eat Vitamin D rich foods (with DV based on 600 IU recommendations).

  • A cup of mushrooms exposed to sunlight: 
    • Portabellos 163% DV
    • Maitake 131% DV
    • Morel 23% DV
    • Chanterelle 19% DV
    • Oyster 4% DV
    • White 1% DV  
  • Three ounces  of oily fish:
    • Trout 108% DV
    • Smoked Salmon 97% DV
    • Swordfish 94% DV
    • Canned Trout 86% DV
    • Salmon 75% DV
    • Smoked White Fish 73%
    • Mackerel 65%
    • Halibut 33% DV
    • Tilapia 21% DV
    • Sole and Flounder 20%
    • Tuna Steak 12% DV
  • Three ounces of tofu:
    • Firm 23% DV
    • Lite Silken Tofu 21% DV
    • Sprouted Tofu, Extra Firm
    • Firm Tofu 14% DV
  • A cup of dairy:
    • Queso Fresco 22% DV
    • Buttermilk, Fortified Low Fat Fruit Yogurt, Fortified Whole Milk, Fortified Goat’s Milk 20% DV
    • Fortified Semi-Skim Milk 20% DV
    • Fortified Skim Milk 19% DV
  • Three ounces of pork:
    • Extra Lean Ham 12% DV
    • Spare Ribs 15%
    • Turkey and Pork Sausage 12%
    • Pork Shoulder 9% DV
    • Pork Loin 8% DV
  • A cup of eggs:
    • Hard Boiled 20% DV
    • Raw, scrambled, poached or omelets 7% DV
    • Duck egg 8%
    • Goose Egg 16% DV
  • A cup of dairy alternatives:
    • Plain Soy Yogurt 22% DV
    • Soymilk 20% DV
    • Almond Milk, Chocolate Almond Milk, Non-soy Imitation Milk or Rice Drink 17% DV

Although the recommended amount of Vitamin D is under debate, the importance of it is not. If you’re found to have a deficiency, take supplements and introduce Vitamin D foods into your diet and conduct your own study. You may find the results to be an easy fix to a variety of health issues you’re experiencing. 

Questions? The E-Town Fitness nutrition experts can help you identify the right ways to work Vitamin D into your daily life. Contact us today!