When we think of “vitamins,” we know they are important for health.
But vitamin D is special.
It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D3; vitamin D3 is, therefore, a very common deficiency.
So, let’s talk about how much of this critical fat-soluble vitamin we need, and how you can get enough. The three ways to vitamin D are exposure to the sun, consuming vitamin D containing food, and through supplements.
Why is vitamin D important?
We will share 5 of many reasons regarding Vitamin D and it’s importance to your health.
- Vitamin D is essential for healthy immune system response. Evidence suggests supplementation can safely improve our immunity and vitamin D status.. Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that it may act as an immune balancer. [study]
- Want to look and feel younger? Make sure you’re not deficient in vitamin D… Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that maintaining healthy levels can support skin and hair health. Some scientists believe that people with skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, and hair loss need to be monitored to ensure they’re not deficient in vitamin D.[study]
- A systematic study review found that vitamin D is critical for experiencing deeper and more restorative levels of sleep.Vitamin D can help with sleep issues, such as sleep apnea, which impacts many millions of Americans. Vitamin D can even enhance the reversal of bigger sleep issues like chronic insomnia.
- Brain fog? Trouble focusing? Enhance your mood, mind, and concentration… Studies show: Normal vitamin D levels support emotional balance, cognitive function, and quality sleep. What’s more, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a wide range of psychiatric and neurological diseases. According to some researchers, low levels of blood vitamin D are associated with low mood, memory problems, and dementia.[study]
- Vitamin D is essential to strong bones, which are critical to longevity and well-being… Vitamin D maintains calcium and phosphorus balance in the body. Specifically, it promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption from the gut, which is critical for building stronger bones.. Vitamin D deficiency (aka low blood levels) is associated with lower bone mineral density, mineralization defects, and an increased risk of bone loss or fracture. [study]
How Much Vitamin D per day Do you Need?
The “official” minimum amount of vitamin D to strive for each day is merely 400-600 IU according to Health Canada. Many experts and other countries think that this is not nearly enough for optimal health, especially in the Northern hemisphere countries, where winters are long and cold.
- France recommends their at-risk citizens get 1000 IU…
- Swiss experts recommend 2000 IU…
- And the government of New Zealand even GIVES their elderly population a free daily dose of Vitamin D of 1600 IU.
To ensure you get adequate amounts of vitamin D, check your levels first and then work with a qualified healthcare provider to figure this out!
How can I get enough vitamin D from the sun?
Your skin makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun; that’s why it’s referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.”How much vitamin D your skin makes depends on many things. Location, season, clouds, clothing, all affect the amount of vitamin D your skin can produce from the sun. One standard recommendation is to get about 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to the face, arms, legs, or back. This should be done without sunscreen, at least twice a week. Of course, we should always avoid sunburns and of course in some locations (and seasons of the year) it’s not easy to get sun exposure. So, how can we get enough vitamin D in other ways?
Is Your Sunscreen Causing a Vitamin D Deficiency?
How can I get enough vitamin D from food?
Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks. Some mushrooms make vitamin D when they’re exposed to the sun.
Some foods are “fortified” (which means vitamin D has been added) with vitamin D. These include milk, some orange juices, breakfast cereals, and yogurt. It will say on the label how much vitamin D has been added per serving.
Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, you can increase absorption of it from your food if you eat it with some fat (healthy fat like avocado or coconut oil). Between sun exposure and food, it still may be difficult to get even the minimum of 400 IU of vitamin D each day; this is why vitamin D supplements are quite popular.
How can I get enough vitamin D from supplements?
It’s easy enough to just “pop a pill” or take some cod liver oil (which also contains vitamin A). Either of these can ensure that you get the minimum amount of vitamin D, plus a bit extra.
But before you take vitamin D containing supplements, make sure you check that it won’t interact with other supplements or medications you may be taking. Always read your labels, and ask a healthcare professional for advice.
Do not take more than the suggested dosage on the label of any vitamin D supplement, except under medical care.
The maximum amount recommended (for the general population) is 4,000 IU/day. Too much vitamin D can raise your blood levels of calcium (to an unsafe level), and this can affect your heart and kidneys.
The best thing, if you’re concerned, is to ask your healthcare professional to request a blood test and make a recommendation about how much vitamin in supplement form is right for you. You’ll have to pay a small fee but it’s worth it in our opinion. Your healthcare practitioner may recommend higher amounts of vitamin D supplementation for a short time while under their care.
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin which; many people have a hard time maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D. There are three ways to get enough vitamin D: sun exposure, through certain foods, and in supplements.
I’ve given you some ideas how you can get the minimum 400-600 IU of vitamin D daily, but feel free to work your way up to 1000 IU per day.
If you’re concerned, it’s best to request a blood test that tests your vitamin D levels to be sure what’s right for you. Always take supplements as directed.
Check out our Work Wellness Bundle to get your vitamin D and other immune supporting supplements on sale!
Recipe (vitamin D): Super-Simple Grilled Salmon
Crina Cretu, Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Oakville
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