The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D, sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin, is responsible for many functions in the body and is obtained through diet and exposure to the sun. If you spend most of your time indoors or live in the northern part of the country, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency, since vitamin D is made through sun exposure.
Why is Vitamin D important?
- Bone Health: vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption for strong bones
- Immune Support: low vitamin D levels increase the risk of infection
- Mental Health: vitamin D deficiency may be linked to depression, anxiety, and dementia
Sources of vitamin D
- Diet: fatty fish, eggs, and other fortified foods
- Sun-exposure: 5-30 minutes several days per week without sunscreen
- Supplements: vitamin D2 and D3 can help meet vitamin needs
Risk Factors for vitamin D deficiency:
- Advanced age with history or fall or fracture
- Malabsorption (inflammatory bowel disease, bariatric surgery)
- Taking certain medications such as anticonvulsants or glucocorticoids
A blood test can be ordered by your doctor to determine if you have vitamin D deficiency.
Diet is the best way to get adequate vitamin D, but if supplementation is needed, make sure to take vitamin D with the largest meal of the day since it is a fat-soluble vitamin and best absorbed with fat. Vitamin D3 is better absorbed and more potent than vitamin D2. Too much vitamin D supplementation could lead to toxicity, so if high doses are taken blood levels should be checked to monitor therapy.
Here are two of my favorite vitamin D supplements:
Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 has 1000 IU of vitamin D3 and contains olive oil which helps with absorption.
Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3+K2 Gummies has vitamin K2 added to support healthy bones and calcium use. It comes in a great tasting pomegranate flavored gummy.
Clinical Resource, Vitamin D in Adults: FAQs. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter. March 2020.