As much as I love talking about wellness, lifestyle, and nutrition trends, I figured it was time to get down to some science on this blog. After all, nutrition is all about science. I wanted to start a series here on the blog spotlighting specific nutrients that you might be wondering about. I feel like different vitamins and minerals are all over food packaging and media (Great Source of ____!), but no one every really talks about what those nutrients actually do for you and why they’re so great!
I figured we’d start with the ever popular Vitamin D.
What it does: Vitamin D is a nutrient essential to our health for many reasons. Vitamin D plays a huge role in our bone health. Firstly, it helps our bodies absorb Calcium, which helps both build healthy bones and keep them healthy. Vitamin D also blocks the release of parathyroid hormone, which reabsorbs bone tissue and can make bones weak. In addition to these essential functions, there’s tons of research happening around Vitamin D and its other many benefits. It is thought to play a role in both muscle function and the immune system. Many studies have shown that patients in the hospital who have a Vitamin D deficiency show worse outcomes than those with adequate Vitamin D levels. It could also help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Like I said, these are all areas of ongoing research, so we don’t know this for sure, but it’s clear that Vitamin D plays a huge role in our bodies.
How its absorbed: Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning there needs to be some sort of fat in the diet to really absorb it. It can also be synthesized when sunlight strikes the skin.
What foods are rich in Vitamin D: Fatty fish is one of the best sources of Vitamin D in food. Things like Salmon, Tuna, Swordfish, and Cod Liver Oil all contain high amounts. Dairy, such as cheese, yogurt, and milk, as well as egg yolks also contain some Vitamin D. Some foods are also fortified with Vitamin D, such as breakfast cereals and some dairy. Like I said above, you can also get Vitamin D from sunlight. The UV in sunlight causes the skin to produce Vitamin D. The amount depends on several factors such as time of day, cloud cover, season, and location.
Recommended Intake: 600 IU/day (Upper Limit: 4000 IU/day)
Supplementation: If you eat an overall healthy diet with a variety of different foods and get outside, you should be ok on Vitamin D levels. However, make sure to get blood work done during your yearly physicals to make sure your levels are ok, and of course speak to your doctor to see if they recommend supplementation.
Alrighty, well I think that’s about all you need to know about Vitamin D. Hopefully this gave you a some insight about this nutrient, so that you are a little more aware of what it does for your body and why you should be consuming it. If you have any questions feel free to comment below, and of course let me know what other vitamins you’d like me to talk about next 🙂