-Jane Henley MSRD
What does Vitamin D do?
Vitamin D helps you to maintain strong bones. It does this by helping the body absorb calcium, this prevents rickets in children, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis in adults. It also helps nerves carry messages to the brain which helps your muscles move. In addition to this it makes the immune system stronger and reduces inflammation.
How much Vitamin D do I need?
40 IU= 1 mcg
Adults 71 and older
Pregnant and breastfeeding woman
Sources of Vitamin D
Your body makes vitamin D when its exposed to the sun. Most people get at least some vitamin D this way. Research has suggested that the best way to get vitamin D from the sun is 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10am and 3pm at least twice a week. Make sure you have the sun going on the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen. These procedures usually lead to sufficient vitamin D cells being made. However cloudy days, shade, and dark-colored skin can reduce the amount of vitamin D produced, and skin exposed through a window will not make any vitamin D.
Vitamin D in food
Only a few foods naturally have vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in American diets. Some foods that have natural vitamin D are: Milk, Fortified cereal, Fortified orange juice, fortified yogurt, fortified margarine, Fortified soy, rice, and almond milk, cooked salmon, swordfish, Canned tuna in water, Egg yolk, and Cod liver oil.
Groups at risk of not enough Vitamin D
- Breastfed Infants
- Older adults
- People with dark skin and limited sun exposure
- people with inflammatory bowel disease and any other condition that causes fat malabsorption
- People who are obese
- People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery
- People with milk allergy or who are lactose intolerant
Vitamin D has the potential to interact with several types of medications
- Steroids: Can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism
- Orlistat: can reduce absorption of vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins
- Cholestyramine: can reduce the absorption of vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins
- Phenobarbital and phenytonin: inactivates vitamin D, reducing calcium absorption