What is Vitamin D, Benefits of Vitamin D and Foods high in Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that our bodies store it. It is stored in our fat cells.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that our bodies store it.  It is stored in our fat cells.  Thank goodness our fat cells are good for something!  LOL

It is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies can make it when skin is exposed to sun.

There are 2 types of vitamin D.  Vitamin D2 is the man made, synthetic version (like vitamin D supplements) and vitamin D3 is produced by our body when skin is exposed to sun.  While vitamin D3 is 3 times as stronger than vitamin D2, both are effective in preventing many diseases and keeping our bones and teeth healthy and strong.  You can buy vitamin D3 in supplement form and should choice this over D2.

40% of Americans and 50% of all humans are estimated to be vitamin D deficient.  

Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods so that’s why you see a lot of foods that are labeled vitamin D fortified.  

If you have darker skin color, you are at greater risk of being deficient in vitamin D.  This is because your skin has more melanin, and this reduces the amount of vitamin D your skin can make.

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Benefits of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a necessary component for our bodies to absorb calcium, the main building block of bones.  99% of calcium is stored in our bones and teeth.  Without adequate vitamin D, your body can’t absorb calcium and that leads to brittle bones and teeth.

Do you have feelings of sadness, hopelessness or suffer from depression?  Studies are showing that vitamin D can give our mood a much needed boost.  One study concluded that those suffering from depression also had low vitamin D levels and reversely, those that have low vitamin D are at greater risk of depression.

Want to reduce your chances of getting the flu or catching a cold?  A recent study of 11,000 people between the ages of 0-95, showed that when these individuals took a vitamin D supplement, they had fewer colds and flu like illnesses than those that did not take the supplement.  It’s important to note that this study was done in the winter when chances of getting vitamin D from the sun were lower.

Trying to lose weight?  Having adequate vitamin D lowers your parathyroid hormone levels and promotes weight loss.  Vitamin D can also increase your bodies level of lepti, which is a hormone that controls body fat storage and our feelings of hunger.

Woman taking a vitamin D supplement have a 40% less likely to develop multiple sclerosis. 

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Want more Benefits of Vitamin D?

A study from Switzerland showed that elderly woman who issues with falling, fell 49% less when they took a vitamin D supplement along with a calcium supplement for 3 months.  Elderly women typically suffer from brittle bones and falling imposes a huge risk on broken bones and their overall health.  Vitamin D help their bones absorb the calcium and makes for stronger, healthier bones.

Suffer from high blood pressure?  1 study from Boston University concluded that blood pressure normalized when these individuals were exposed to UVA and UVB rays daily for 3 months.  They followed up 9 months later and the blood pressure was still normal.

Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?  A study of over 83,000 women showed that when 800IU of vitamin D was taken with 1000mg of calcium, the risk for type 2 diabetes was lowered by 33%.  Reversely, below normal levels of vitamin D levels has been shown to increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Suffer from arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis?  Adequate vitamin D has been shown to not only reduce the pain level is those suffering from arthritis but also helps improve their joints and cartilage.

Another study showed that women living in less sunny, northern states have a significantly higher risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis than woman living in sunnier, southern states.    

How much Vitamin D do I need?

The recommended daily allowance is 600IU per day for younger adults but those over 70 should take 800 IU. (international units) Others suggest that 1500-2000IU per day is best. The upper limit is around 60,000 IU taken for weeks.  (remember our body stores vitamin D) The average person would not and should not take that much.

It only takes roughly 10-15 minutes in the full sun to get approx. 5000IU- 10,000IU of vitamin D.  But there are a lot of variables.  How much skin is exposed, time of day, your skin tone, how close you live to the equator where the sun is most intense.

Now that I’ve shown you the benefits of Vitamin D, let’s discover delicious ways we can consume more Vitamin D.

Foods with Vitamin D

Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods so many foods are fortified with vitamin D.

Salmon is a great source of natural vitamin D.  Wild caught salmon has approx. 950 IU of vitamin D whereas farm raised only has 250IU.

Other foods with vitamin D include herring, sardines, cod, canned tuna, egg yolk, and mushrooms.  Interesting to note, Mushrooms are the ONLY vegetable source of vitamin D. 

Vitamin D fortified foods include milk, cheese, yogurt, almond milk, bread, cereals, orange juice and oatmeal.

Do you think you are part of the 40-50% that are deficient in vitamin D?

Have you learned more about the benefits of Vitamin D and will you be trying to consume more vitamin D or take a supplement?  Let me know in my Veggie Obsessed Facebook group.

Each week I post a blog about the veggie of the week!  Be sure to join my email list so you don’t miss out?  We could be talking about your favorite veggie next!  😉  

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Hey there my friend! My name is Jodie Crandall and I’m a veggie loving certified health and nutrition coach on a journey to spread the word about how amazing veggies are for our health!  I am a self-proclaimed “plant-based meat eater” who has recently lost almost 50 pounds by eating more veggies!

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