How Much Vitamin D You Really Need (and How to Get More in Your Diet)

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Vitamin D is extremely important for your health, and I don’t just mean bone health. Humans need vitamin D for immune function, cell growth and repair, and many other things. We get vitamin D from sunlight and food, so let’s take a look at which foods contain the most vitamin D.

You don’t have to get all your vitamin D from food

Before discussing food sources, I want to address the question of where vitamin D comes from. The main sources are sunlight And food (and supplements), so if you get plenty of sunlight, you don’t have to worry about meeting your needs through food, and vice versa.

How much sun do you need to get enough vitamin D? It depends on your latitude on Earth and the color of your skin. For a reference, consider this study which compared sun exposure in Miami and Boston. In Miami in the summer, it only takes a person with average skin (one who tans easily but is still capable of sunburn) a few minutes to get their vitamin D for the day. In Boston, in winter, bundled up, the same person can take two hours to obtain the same amount of vitamin D.

Health professionals generally agree that if you’re not sure you’re getting enough vitamin D from food and sunlight, simply take a supplement. This will be safer than trying to meet all your needs through the sun, because the sun’s rays that convert vitamins are the same ones that can potentially contribute to skin cancer.

Getting more vitamin D through diet is also an option, so let’s get to it.

How much vitamin D do you need in your diet each day?

There isn’t much agreement on how much vitamin D we need, but the US National Institutes of Health has decided that 600 IU (international units) is enough for almost everyone aged 1 to 70 years. If you are over 70, you should receive 800 IU.

The daily value listed on nutrition labels is based on a goal of 800 IU (the recommendation for older adults), so most of us can get by on just 75% of the daily value, instead to ensure you reach 100%.

Those international units exist because there are different forms of vitamin D found in foods, and some have a stronger effect on the body than others. Typically, 600 IU is equivalent to 15 micrograms of vitamin D, but using IU means you don’t need to know what type of vitamin is in the food.

Oh, and the 600 or 800 IU recommendations assume you’re getting minimal sun exposure: they’re aimed at the bundled-up person in Boston, not the sunbathing person in Miami.

Simple Ways to Add Vitamin D to Your Diet

Eat more oily fish

Fish contain tons of vitamin D in their fat, so oily fish like trout and salmon tend to be excellent sources of the vitamin.

If you’ll allow me a little rant: cod liver oil always tops lists of sources of vitamin D, as if people buy cod liver oil and take spoonfuls of it like in the old cartoons animated. (Maybe people do. If that’s the case with you, you can stop reading now.) I’m going to continue my list as if cod liver oil doesn’t exist. That said, if you really want to get your vitamin D this way, by all means do it. buy someone on Amazon.

If you prefer to eat the fish you eat, here is the amount of vitamin D found in different types of fish. All of these lists come from the USDA and indicate levels in a three-ounce serving of cooked fish.

  • Trout (rainbow, farmed): 645 IU

  • Salmon (sockeye): 570 IU

  • Tuna (light, canned): 229 IU (or 460 IU for a small can)

  • Tilapia: 128 IU

  • Fish sticks: unfortunately only 1 IU

Other animal products that are good sources of vitamin D

Several land animals also produce enough vitamin D to be considered a good source of vitamin D.

Milk is known to be a good source of vitamin D (the carton often says “milk with vitamin D”). There is vitamin D naturally found in milk fat, so skim milk generally doesn’t contain a lot of vitamin D like whole milk, and it is often fortified to increase these levels even more.

Eat more fortified foods

A food is “enriched” with vitamins if these vitamins have been added to the food. Many people don’t drink milk, so many similar drinks are sold with added vitamin D.

  • Enriched plant milks: Check the label, but it’s often similar to whole milk. here is a Silk brand soy milk with 120 IU per cup.

  • Fortified orange juice: Check the label, but here is Simply orange with 200 IU per cup.

  • Enriched cereals: Check the label, but even a sugary cereal like Cinnamon Toast Crunch contains 240 IU per serving.

You got the idea. Plant-based foods don’t naturally contain much vitamin D, but many common items like these are fortified. Between food, sunlight, and the “I don’t want to think about it” approach of simply taking a vitamin D supplement, it shouldn’t be too difficult to meet your needs.

News Source :
Gn Health

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