Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin essential for maintaining adequate calcium and phosphate concentrations to ensure healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also involved with immune function and supporting the muscle and nervous system. 

Research shows that we get 90% of the vitamin D we need from the sun.

Since the introduction of the ‘slip slop slap’ campaign in the 70’s, Vitamin D deficiency has risen to pandemic proportions for all age groups. One in 3 Australians are considered Vitamin D deficient. Forty two percent of Americans are considered Vitamin D deficient, with the highest rate seen in blacks (82.1%), followed by Hispanics (69.2%). One billion people world-wide lack vitamin D. Sunscreen reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by more than 99%. 

While it's difficult to meet all of your vitamin D needs from food, eating healthy vitamin-D-containing foods doesn't come with the potential health risks of too much sun exposure. Although only a small portion of vitamin D is obtained from diet, here are some of the best sources of vitamin D, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements:

  • Cod liver oil.
  • Mushrooms
  • Swordfish.
  • Salmon.
  • Tuna.
  • Vitamin D-fortified orange juice.
  • Vitamin D-fortified milk.
  • Vitamin D-fortified yogurt.
  • Sardines.
  • Beef liver.
  • Eggs yolks
  • Vitamin D-fortified cereal.
  • Swiss cheese.

Why do we need Vitamin D?

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to musculoskeletal problems such as rickets, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, fractures and muscle weakness. There are also reports of vitamin D deficiency being linked it to some cancers, autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, infectious diseases and neurologic disorders including Alzheimers disease.

The "right" amount of vitamin D is up for debate and not unanimously agreed upon by health professionals and organizations. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 1- to 70-year-olds acquire 600 international units a day. Researchers at UC San Diego and Creighton University have challenged the intake of vitamin D recommended by the IOM, stating that their Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin D underestimates the need by a factor of ten.

Depending on where what time of the day and how close you are to the equator will determine how much Vitamin D you will produce. Being exposed to sun between 10am and 4pm and closer to the equator will increase vitamin D levels but also increase chances of skin cancer. During the summer, someone with fair skin color that tans slowly would need 6 minutes of sun exposure to acquire 1,000 IU of vitamin D in Miami whereas in Boston, the same person would require 1 hour. The lighter skin color you are, the easier it is to make vitamin D.


Inactive Ingredient Search for Approved Drug Products:Frequently Asked Questions. US Food & Drug Administration.

“Small amounts of UV are beneficial for people and essential inthe production of vitamin D.” There is a relationship of skin exposure to UVRand the burden of diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency.” The WorldHealth Organisation (W.H.O.)

“The mostnatural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight(ultraviolet B rays).”

“VitaminD deficiency is a global health problem. With all the medical advances of thecentury, vitamin D deficiency is still epidemic. Over a billion peopleworldwide are vitamin D deficient or insufficient.”

“Sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3synthesis.” These results indicate that the sunscreen interferred with theskin’s production of vitamin D3. J Clin Endocrinol Metabolisim 1987Jun;64(6):1165-8. Matsuoka LT

“VitaminD deficiency has also greatly increased, since sunblock also prevents vitamin Dproduction in the skin.”



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