Nothing improves the mood than a hot, sunny day, right? For those enjoying warmer, sun-shining days, there is a good reason why your good mood depends on it – Vitamin D. Vitamin D falls among the vitamins our bodies need the most, and it directly affects our health and wellbeing.
The greatest levels of vitamin D can be acquired by direct sun exposure, resulting in stronger bones, teeth, skin, and immunity. However, due to colder seasons, we are all deprived of vitamin D at one point of the year.
Below, we will discuss vitamin D, its benefits and the signs which indicate deficiency thereof.
Vitamin D and the Body
Vitamin D makes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus easier. In such a way, vitamin D can prevent numerous health conditions. Vitamin D is essential to the human body as it affects the emotional, skin and bone health, and boosts the immunity and helps the muscle relax.
What are the Symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency?
- Weak immunity
- Chronic fatigue
- Back Pain
- Bone Pain
- Hair Loss
- Muscle Pain
What are Natural Sources of Vitamin D?
There are many natural foods which either contain vitamin D or help absorb it from elsewhere. Read the list below.
There are many vegetables offering a solid dose of vitamin D. Potatoes and corn are full of vitamin D, offering you 21 IU and 55 IU of vitamin D per measure, respectively. Another great veggie packed with vitamin D is spinach, which offers 42 IU of the vitamin per measure.
Not really a vegetable, mushrooms are still rich in vitamin D and can boost your health largely. Some of the best mushrooms to consider for consumption include white mushrooms, which offer additional health benefits and provide 8 IU of vitamin D in an ounce of the product. In addition, Shiitake and Portobello mushrooms also deliver a great vitamin D content, or 20 IU and 384 IU of vitamin D, respectively.
As a fruit, oranges are surprisingly rich in vitamin D and contain 100 IU of vitamin D per cup. The best way to acquire this amount is to make homemade orange juice and drink it.
- Fish, Eggs, and Meat
Eggs are a great source of vitamin D and go well with meats, so you can combine them whenever you need a vitamin D boost. A single egg yolk offers 40 IU of vitamin D, which is why it matters you eat the whole eggs, instead of just the whites. As for meats, you can absorb 50 IU of vitamin D by consuming 3.5 oz of beef liver. Talking about fish, cod liver oil is one of the best sources of vitamin D, and offers 1,300 IU of vitamin D in a single teaspoon.
Popular and Easy Vitamin D Recipes
Have a look at several vitamin D-rich recipes below to help you prevent vitamin D deficiency.
Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce (4 servings)
- 1 pound salmon fillet, skinned
- 1 cup dry white wine, divided
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 tbsps. lemon juice
- 4 tsp. capers, rinsed
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
In a skillet, add salmon and half-a-cup of wine, to cover the fish. Boil on high temperature and bring down to a simmer after. Flip salmon and cook for 5 minutes on each side.
On medium heat, cook the shallow in oil for about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the wine and boil for 1 minute. Throw in lemon juice and capers and give it 1 more minute of cooking. Set aside and add sour cream and salt.
Maple-Glazed Salmon (4 servings)
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 salmon fillets
- Cooking spray
In a bowl, whisk maple syrup, hoisin sauce, mustard, and pepper. Place the salmon in a preheated broiler, skin down. Apply the mix over the salmon and broil it for 12 minutes.
Vitamin D: Can You Go Overboard?
Vitamin D deficiency is just as bad as excessive vitamin D levels in the body. If lacking, vitamin D can lead to low blood levels of ‘calcidiol’. In return, this can lead to severe bone and teeth damage in patients.
Another disease stemming from insufficient levels of vitamin D is rickets. Rickets manifests in kids and characterized by deformed or weak bones, which have not developed properly.
In adults, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia, which characterizes with softer bone tissue, legs bowing, muscle weakness and bone fragility.
On the flip side, if you take too much vitamin D, you might suffer vitamin D toxicity. With that, the liver works faster which boosts the blood calcium levels, a condition known as hypercalcemia. By ignoring this condition, the patient can suffer calcium built-up in the kidneys, heart and remaining organs. If pregnant, consult your doctor to determine whether you need to take vitamin D supplements.
What Is the Desired Daily Intake of Vitamin D?
In the charts, explore vitamin D dosage in people from New Zealand and Australia, two nations with the most frequent vitamin D deficiency in patients.
|Age Group||Adequate Intake (μg)||Upper Level of Intake (μg)|
|Infants 0–12 months||5.0||25.0|
|Children 1–18 years||5.0||80.0|
|Adults 19–50 years||5.0||80.0|
|Adults 51–70 years||10.0||80.0|
|Adults > 70 years||15.0||80.0|
Now, let’s look at the recommended vitamin D dosage for patients in Canada.
|Age Group||RDA (IU)||Tolerable Upper Intake (IU)|
|Infants 0–6 months||400*||1,000|
|Infants 7–12 months||400*||1,500|
|Children 1–3 years||600||2,500|
|Children 4–8 years||600||3,000|
|Children and Adults 9–70 years||600||4,000|
|Adults > 70 years||800||4,000|
|Pregnancy & Lactation||600||4,000|
Finally, here is the desired vitamin D intake for people in the USA.
|Age Group||RDA (IU/day)|
|Infants 0–6 months||400*|
|Infants 6–12 months||400*|
|1–70 years||600 (15 μg/day)|
|71+ years||800 (20 μg/day)|
|Pregnant/Lactating||600 (15 μg/day)|
The Sun and Vitamin D
One of the most genuine ways to pack your body with vitamin D is getting exposed to direct sunlight. When we go into the sun, our skin produces Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). To encourage this vitamin, you need to spend from 15 minutes to 2 hours enjoying the sun. This mostly depends on your tan, so if you are tanner, you should sit in the Sun for a longer time.
Your vitamin D levels depend on some particular factors as well:
- Time: getting exposed to the Sun midday is more effective than doing this in the other parts of the day.
- Location: If you are closer to the equator, you will absorb more vitamin D in return.
- Complexion: if you are fair-skinned you can absorb vitamin D from the sun easier than darker-tan people.
Fair-skinned people actually enjoy their body producing from 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin D when laying in the sun. As for darker complexions, staying in the sun for a bit longer never hurt anybody, so enjoy it and don’t forget to use sunscreen.