Warmer months are upon us and that means more vitamin D. Most vitamins are absorbed in the body through food, so what does vitamin D have to do with warmer months? Continue reading to find out.
How to Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is produced in your skin in response to exposure to sunlight. In the summer months, you’re less likely to become deficient in comparison to the colder, rainier months when more time is spent inside.
Another way to increase your vitamin D intake is through food. Some animal products naturally contain vitamin D, such as salmon, sardines, egg yolks and shrimp. Other products are fortified, which means the vitamin has been added to them. Some examples of vitamin D fortified foods are milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice. To ensure the products you purchase are being fortified with vitamin D look on the label for vitamin D in the ingredients list or check out the percentages of your daily vitamin intake under the nutrition facts.
In food and supplements, vitamin D has two different forms — D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Some studies show D3 may be more potent, but it’s beneficial to take either if you’re deficient. Also, it’s important to note D3 is animal derived, while D2 is plant based. The presence of dietary fat consumed at the same time as vitamin D helps increase absorption since it’s a fat-soluble vitamin. If you’re taking a vitamin D supplement, make sure to have it with a meal that contains a fat like avocado, peanut butter or olive oil.
Vitamin D’s Function
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin responsible for several important bodily functions. Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, two essential minerals, to improve our immune function and for bone development (This includes your teeth!) Being deficient in vitamin D puts you at risk for developing osteoporosis, which causes your bones to break down and become fragile.
Some people are more at risk for vitamin D deficiency than others. Those at risk are the elderly, those with darker complexions, vegans and those who stay inside often. Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are getting sick often, fatigue, bone pain, depression, impaired wound healing and hair loss. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, please reach out to your primary care physician or get tested for vitamin D deficiency at Georgia State’s Student Health Clinic.
Daily Intake Needs
The amount of vitamin D needed through dietary intake depends on a few factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, latitude, season, sun exposure and clothing.
|14-18 years||15 mcg (600 IU)||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|19-50 years||15 mcg (600 IU)||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|51-70 years||15 mcg (600 IU)||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|>70 years||20 mcg (800 IU)||20 mcg (800 IU)|