Vitamin D! how to get it? do you need it?

vitamin DVitamin D has been in the news a lot lately.

It’s a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it can be stored in the body and is not excreted through your stool or pee. This means that there is a potential for overdose and toxicity.

Last summer, in 2007 the Canadian Cancer Society said that based on current research adults should consider increasing their daily dosage to 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily during the fall and winter months, in consultation with a health-care provider.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and Health Canada has set 2,000 IU of vitamin D as the daily maximum tolerable amount.

Vitamin D isn’t very easy to come by when it comes to nutrition; fatty fish and egg yolks are the only natural food sources. There are also products that are fortified with it such as Milk, rice or soya drinks and in rare cases cheese products.  It’s usually produced naturally in the body through exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, however, the problem is that people who live in northern climates where the sun isn’t as strong and the days are shorter and greyer have a lot of trouble producing the vitamin naturally during the fall and winter months. People of dark skin are even more prone to having Vitamin D deficiencies because of a chemical in their skin which reduces the intake by the body of the vitamin. It’s also becomes harder for people over 50 to produce the vitamin through sun exposure, which makes it even more important for them to take vitamin supplements when the weather demands it.

Vitamin D helps your body by strengthening your bones, thwarting different forms of cancer, staving off multiple sclerosis and autoimmune disorders as well as fighting infections.

While i’m usually not one to recommend vitamin use because i think it’s unecessary given the easy access most of us have to healthy nutritious food, i think that taking a vitamin D supplement of a 1000 IU 4/5 times a week during the fall and winter months seems like a smart choice to make. There’s a lot of data referring to its various benefits and taking a vitamin is simple and will guarantee minimum levels. I don’t subscribe to the idea of using pharmaceutical vitamins for nutrition but when it’s a vitamin that isn’t widely available i’ll recommend it.

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