Taking vitamin D on a daily basis, especially for us Canadians, is so very important. Often this vitamin is nick named the “sunshine vitamin” because our body can manufacture its own vitamin D when it is directly exposed to sunlight. All that’s required is about 10 minutes a day of midday, non-sunscreen full exposure to sunshine. Because we live in a cold climate, we have a tendency to stay indoors many months of the year, so we become deficient in Vitamin D, plus these other factors combine to play a role too in this situation:
- Pollution that cuts down on pure sunshine;
- Use of sunscreen;
- Spending lots of time indoors;
- Living in big cities where buildings block sunlight.
Besides the glory of sunshine, we can also get vitamin D from supplements, through a daily dose as follows, although the exact amount is up for debate as depending on your blood level, your vitamin D intake needs may be increased. The recommended IUs (IU = International Units) for vitamin D are:
- 600 IU for children, teens, adults up to 70 yrs., pregnant/breastfeeding women;
- 800 IU for adults over age 70: 800 IU.
Sources vary but some say that a considerably higher daily amounts of vitamin D or 2000 IU per day is needed. Although the exact amount may be questionable, the need for us to have vitamin D is not. Vitamin D also can come to us through the foods we eat. These foods include: fish (salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil, tuna, sardines), calf liver, milk, yoghurt, eggs yolks, and cheese.
Vitamin D is so very important to us because it affect as many as 2,000 genes in our body. This all important vitamin is vital in managing the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorous, which therefore supports the strength of our immune system to combat disease. The normal development of our bones and teeth depend on it. But there’s so much more. Through research and development, proper levels of Vitamin D shows promise to help reduce the risk of: cancer, Type I Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and the flu. Additionally, evidence is beginning to show that it also helps to moderate our mood and staves off depression. Consider adding vitamin D supplements if you are trying to lose weight.