The Benefits of Vitamin D


Vitamin D is essential for numerous body functions ranging

from supporting our bone health to regulating our immune

system. Unlike most vitamins, vitamin D functions more like a

hormone, whereas every cell in our body has a receptor which

allows it to absorb vitamin D. It can be synthesized by our

body when our skin is exposed to sunlight. For this reason, it’s

often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” Interestingly, how

much vitamin D we make depends on a number of factors

including genetics, age, and skin tone.


Studies show that approximately 41% of us are vitamin D

deficient, which can have some serious health consequences

such as osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

People who are vitamin D deficient may experience frequent

illness, chronic fatigue, bone or muscle pain or depression.

There are three key sources of vitamin D – sunlight, dietary

sources, and supplements. Sunlight is the most common (aim

to be outdoors at least three times per week for approximately

20-30 minutes between 10am -3pm). Another way to boost your


vitamin D level is through food. Some sources high in vitamin

D include:

*sardines + fatty fish (mackeral, salmon, and tuna)

*beef liver

*cheese

*egg yolk

*non-dairy milk (i.e. almond or soy)

*shiitake mushrooms

*fortified breakfast cereals

*fortified orange juice

*Note: since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, pairing it with

high-fat foods such as avocados or nuts can help increase

absorption.


In addition to vitamin D-rich foods, vitamin D supplements in

the form of capsules, tablets, and drops are often

recommended. The current RDA (recommended daily

allowance) of vitamin D for adults by the National Institute of

Health is 600 IUs (International units) a day.


What I have seen with my clients is that most need at least

1000 IUs a day, especially during the winter months. Also, if

you are taking a vitamin D supplement, adequate calcium,

vitamin A, vitamin K, and magnesium intake are required.

Increasing vitamin D will also increase your body’s needs for

all of these nutrients.


Having an adequate level of vitamin D is a critical factor to

support our health. It plays an important role with almost

every system in our body. Most labs have a range for vitamin

D between 25-80 ng/ml. I aim to keep my clients between 40-

60ng.ml.


I encourage you to be pro-active and ask your doctor

or healthcare provider to assess your vitamin D level at least

annually. So, as always, please consult your physician before

starting any new health-related routine or taking any new

supplements.


Meghan Punda is nurse practitioner and functional nutritionist.

She works with women on lifestyle and dietary issues. Meghan is

passionate about educating her clients so they can reach their full wellness potential.


References:

Fullscript blog: Health Benefits of Vitamin D and Best Sources

by Laura Dan BSc, NDTR. December 3, 2019.

Medical News Today: What are the health benefits of vitamin

D? by Megan Ware RDN LD. November 7, 2019.