How Do I Get Adequate Vitamin D?
What’s the Deal with Vitamin D and Why Are So Many of Us Deficient?
Out of the 13 vitamins our body needs to stay healthy and thrive, vitamin D is the trickiest to absorb. While we only need very little, this vitamin is necessary for bone strength. So why is it such a challenge to get the recommended, daily amount? Unlike the 12 other essential, organic compounds, vitamin D differs in the following ways according to Harvard Medical School:
- It’s produced in the body
- It’s absent from all-natural foods except for fish and egg yolks
- “When the body does obtain vitamin D from food, it must be transformed by the body before it can do any good,” shares Jennifer Jordan, a physician assistant at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas.
So What About the Sun?
“Yes, your skin can manufacture its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight,” says Jordan. But as society has shifted to computer screens and air conditioning, our time outdoors is substantially less than it was a century ago. We have also been programmed to lather up with SPF since too much UV ray exposure causes skin cancer, leaving us with the difficult conundrum; risk brittle bones or evade skin cancer?
There Is A Light in the Vitamin D Absorption Tunnel!
While vitamin D absorption has not evolved to mirror human activity, thankfully science, engineering, and research have. Here are some simple ways to get the vitamin D your body needs to keep your skeleton strong while eliminating skin cancer risk:
- Vitamin D Supplements: A simple blood test from your doctor can determine a vitamin D deficiency. Your doctor can recommend the daily amount needed in the form of a vitamin if necessary, but according to Mayo Clinic, the general recommendation for people ages 1-70 years is 600 IU per day.
- Fortified Foods: “One can only eat so much fish and egg yolks, so look for foods that are fortified with vitamin D,” notes Jordan. “Cereal, orange juice, milk, cheese, and yogurt are a few foods often fortified- just check the label,” she continues. Here is a good list of Fortified Foods Worth Buying supplied by Eat This, Not That!
- Don’t Ditch the Sunscreen: Diet and supplements are sufficient sources of vitamin D. “While sun-kissed skin may present as more healthy, suntanned skin is actually damaged skin,” Jordan assures. So lather up, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. Check out the American Academy of Dermatology’s Sunscreen Facts for further information.