An increasing amount of scientific studies keep showing just how important vitamin D is to the human body. Getting soaked in sunshine is one way to do that, naturally, but you’d be advised to avoid that method, since bathing in the sun isn’t quite as healthy as it used to be and can increase cancer risk. You don’t have to resort to sun or supplements, ya know. As fate would have it, there are selected foods, and other ways to get your natural dose of vitamin D.
What is Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a nutrient that we consume and a it’s also a hormone created by our own bodies. Vitamin D is also referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” and there’s good reason for that name. To put it as simply as possible, our body produces vitamin D from cholesterol. This process happens when sunlight hits our skin. In certain cases, people cannot get vitamin D from the sun, and usually this occurs when people have darker skin, if people are overweight, older, or if they cover their skin when in the sun. It’s been documented that when sunscreen is applied to your skin, it reduces the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D by over 90%. The amount of vitamin D is measured in IU (International Unit), which is commonly used to measure fat-soluble vitamins including A and E.
Where do you get Vitamin D
There are some foods that provide natural vitamin D. For example, dairy products and breakfast cereals are known to be fortified with vitamin D. The same thing goes for fatty fish like tuna and salmon. It is also possible to get vitamin D by taking supplements, albeit it is known that most multivitamins have a rather low D level - 400 IU. Luckily there are also multivitamins on the market that offer 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D. So, apart from getting a suntan and getting your vitamin D by sunbathing, you can also use supplements.
Vitamin D in Food
Here are a few examples of foods that have the highest sources of Vitamin D:
Cow’s milk: 1/2 cup (fortified, 2% or greater fat) = 62 IU
Eggs: 1 = 143 IU
Sardines: 3.2 oz. = 175 IU
Shiitake mushrooms: 1/2 cup = 20 IU
Salmon: 4 oz. = 500 IU
Mackerel: 3½ ounce portion has high omega-3, gives you 90% of recommended daily dose.
Also, cod liver oil, eggs and, of course, the Sun.
How much Vitamin D do you need
While a lot of people are concerned about not getting enough vitamin D, you should also be aware of how much you shouldn’t take or rather what are the limits. In a majority of cases, your body needs 50,000 IU per day for four or more weeks to reach toxic blood levels of over 150 ng/ml.
Why Vitamin D is Good
Another really important fact to know about vitamin D’s is its contribution to our immune system. Throughout history scientists have discovered that vitamin D provides several benefits for one’s health and, amongst many other things, is known to lower the risks of mortality, cancer, obesity, dementia, heart disease, asthma and various infections. It also contributes much to the overall skeletal health and provides protection and lubrication of your bones, teeth and hair.
Vitamin D is noted to be a major factor in improving fat-loss, apart from being a great boost to overall health; that’s according to a research conducted by the University of Minnesota. If you have higher levels of vitamin D, chances are you’ll speed up weight loss – especially around tummy area.