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Are you getting enough vitamin D?

Vitamin D is known to be important for bone health. It has also been studied for its possible association with a reduced risk of various diseases. But even if you can get vitamin D from food, supplements, or sun exposure, many people still don’t get enough vitamin D.

why? Maybe you’re not getting enough from your diet. Other factors that affect your body’s ability to make vitamin D include season, time of day, where you live, air pollution, cloud cover, sunscreen, exposed body parts, skin color, and age. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen and getting vitamin D from food and supplements rather than risking harmful sun exposure.

The role of vitamin D

Vitamin D occurs naturally in a few foods middle. But it is present in many fortified foods.

Since 1930, nearly all milk in the United States has been fortified with 100 IU of vitamin D per cup. Food manufacturers fortify other foods, such as yogurt, cereal, and orange juice.

Ideally, vitamin D is added to contain calcium. Vitamin D is needed to maximize the absorption of calcium in the gut, which helps build strong bones and teeth.

“Vitamin D deficiency is associated with low bone mass and osteoporosis and is estimated to affect 10 million adults over the age of 50 in the United States,” said Atlanta rheumatologist Eduardo Baetti . He said many of his patients — especially the elderly and dark-skinned people — have low levels of vitamin D because the sun isn’t a reliable source.

How much vitamin D do you need?

The National Institutes of Health recommends that people consume this much vitamin D per day:

  • Birth to 12 months: 10 micrograms (mcg) or 400 international units (IU)
  • Ages 1-70: 15 mcg (600 IU)
  • Ages 71 and older: 20 mcg (800 IU) )
  • Older people need more vitamin D because as they age, their skin Not producing vitamin D efficiently, they spend less time outdoors, and they tend not to get enough vitamin D.


    Sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D, but very It’s hard to quantify how much vitamin D you can get in the sun, and the risk of skin cancer may outweigh the benefits.

    Food comes first, says Baylor College of Medicine dietitian Keli Hawthorne. “Supplements can fill in the gaps, but it’s best to try and meet your nutritional needs with foods that contain fiber, phytonutrients, and more,” she says.

    Unless you enjoy a diet that includes fatty fish or cod liver oil, it may be difficult to get enough vitamin D naturally without eating fortified foods or taking supplements. “The main dietary sources of vitamin D come from fortified dairy products, as well as some yogurts and cereals,” Hawthorne said. Mushrooms, eggs, cheese and beef liver contain small amounts.

    How much is too much?

    Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it can build up in the body. So it is possible to get too much.

    The National Institutes of Health says these are the daily upper limits for vitamin D:

    • Birth to 6 months: 25 mcg (1,000 IU)
    • Infants 7-12 months: 38 mcg (1,500 IU)
    • Children 1-3 years: 63 mcg (2,500 IU)
    • Children 4-8 years: 75 mcg (3,000 IU)
    • Children 9-18 years: 100 mcg (4,000 IU)

    • Adults 19 years and older: 100 mcg (4,000 IU)
    • if pregnant or breastfeeding : 100 mcg (4,000 IU)

    “If you take more than 4,000 IU per day of Too much supplementation can cause harm, but don’t worry about getting too much sun because your skin acts like a regulatory system that only allows you to produce the vitamin D you need,” said Patsy Brannon, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University. Member of the medical committee reviewing vitamin D recommendations.


    Your healthcare provider can check your vitamin D blood levels with a simple blood test.

    Part of the confusion about whether you are getting enough vitamin D may be the definition of an acceptable blood level of vitamin D, measured clinically as 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D].

    Using vitamin D blood levels is the best estimate of dietary intake and sunlight adequacy, but experts are divided on what this level should be.

    “A 25 IOM committee used a blood level of (OH)D of at least 20 ng/ml to formulate its recommendations for vitamin D because this level was shown to be sufficient for various markers of bone health” Brannon said.

    The Endocrine Society practice guidelines and many laboratories and experts recommend a minimum vitamin D blood level of 30 ng/ml as an acceptable level.



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