Health Inspired Dentistry Blog

Interesting Facts About Vitamin D Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Vitamin D – Sunlight or Supplement?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays a key role in almost all of our physiological functions. As an immune system regulator, vitamin D is absolutely vital to vibrant health. It is the only vitamin your body makes itself (and it’s actually a hormone!). Although there are many forms of vitamin D, the two most common types are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.

Vitamin D is the most undervalued nutrient in the world, since most people assume they are getting enough from the sun. Although sunlight is one source of vitamin D, there are very few individuals who get enough exposure to reap the benefits adequate levels of vitamin D provide. In addition, excessive time in the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer.

Vitamin D provides protection from:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypertension
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune Diseases

How can we get Vitamin D?

While experts agree that vitamin D is crucial, there is some controversy over the best way to get it. Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods.

Exposing your body to sunlight is the simplest way to get vitamin D – your body makes it naturally. However, the amount of sun you need to meet your vitamin D requirements varies hugely, depending on your location, the season, your skin type, the time of day, air pollution, body parts exposed and age.

While some say exposure to the sun is enough, others say the sun is not reliable and therefore encourage a supplement regimen.

If you’re looking to get vitamin D from food, include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines in your diet. Other food sources of vitamin D are eggs, fortified milk, mushrooms, fortified cereals, select yogurt brands, beef or calf liver and cheese. Cod liver oil boasts high vitamin D levels, but contains a lot of vitamin A, which may be toxic in large amounts.

In Northern areas with limited sunlight, supplementation is a common way to get sufficient vitamin D. High quality multivitamins contain approximately 50 – 1000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D in each capsule or tablet. If you are considering supplements, check in with your primary care physician before starting a regimen. The Recommended Dietary Allowance is debated, though the Institute of Medicine calls for 600 IU per day for children and adults under 70.

Health Inspired Dentistry Health Coach – Ann Kowalski

Reference: Institute for Integrative Nutrition