I am on spring break vacation with my family in lovely Costa Rica. I am getting lots of natural Vitamin D here from the gorgeous sunshine! However, I thought of writing about sources of Vitamin D for a different reason. A few weeks ago I had an annual check up with my internal medicine doctor. As we discussed my wellness from A-Z and the types of blood tests she will request this year, she added Vitamin D deficiency. I grew accustomed to hearing this test as part of my children’s wellness check up, but why me?
Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D naturally occurs in only a few foods, including cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna, beef liver and egg yolks, according to the National Institutes of Health. Sources of Vitamin D for vegetarians include exposure to sunlight and fortified foods such as soy milk, cow’s milk, juice, cereal and margarine. Fortified foods either contain vitamin D2, a vegan form, or vitamin D3, derived from sheep’s wool, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 600 IU of vitamin D a day. According to the Mayo Clinic and NIH, when the level of vitamin D in your body is too low it can cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen. The role of vitamin D and insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and immune function — and how these relate to heart disease and cancer — is under investigation.
Vitamin D deficiency is not just a vegetarian or vegan issue; everyone tends to be at risk because we are not getting it naturally from the sun. For those of you following a healthy lifestyle that incorporates salmon, tuna, sole or flounder you’re getting great sources of natural Vitamin D. On my diet, I have to make sure that I am getting Vitamin D fortified dairy and whole grains, perhaps some cod liver oil even though it was something I despised as a child; and mushrooms to my surprise have a high dose of Vitamin D!
Let me go back to enjoy this natural Vitamin D while I can!
Feed the wellness in you!