Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
By Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
While “strong bones” most often comes to mind when we think of vitamin D, recent studies demonstrate loads of additional health-promoting benefits, including contributions to the prevention of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and some immune-system diseases.
How do you know if you’re meeting your daily needs? Guidelines have recently been updated for both children and adults. While vitamin D needs vary with age and other factors, the only way you can know your vitamin D “number” is with a blood test – and a score of 30 or higher is the new goal.
Vitamin D is not naturally found in foods, except for fatty fish (like salmon and tuna), and is added to all dairy products. Nature’s way for us to obtain vitamin D is from exposure to daily sun light, where our skin can help us meet our daily needs for this vitamin. Just 10-15 minutes a day (without sunscreen) is sufficient.
To meet your needs, you might need a simple dietary change, more time outdoors, a supplement, or a combination of these.
Here are some general guidelines to review. It’s important to talk with your doctor about your specific needs, as these values are approximate and don’t always apply to an individual:
Age RDA (IU/day)
Up to 18 600 IU
19 – 50 600-800 IU
51+ 600-800 IU
Pregnant/ 600 IU
In addition to fatty fish and vitamin D-fortified dairy products, dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, beef liver, and fortified cereals.
Talk to your doctor about the best ways to meet your needs. And don’t exceed the daily recommended dose with dietary supplements without an okay from your doctor. As a fat-soluble vitamin (retained by your body over time), too much vitamin D can be a health negative.
Before talking to your doctor, first add up the total up the amount of vitamin D you consume in a day from these 3 sources: (1) dairy products and other foods; (2) calcium supplements fortified with vitamin D, and (3) daily multivitamin/mineral supplements. Based on your blood level, your current health, and your lifestyle habits, you and your doctor can figure out the best combination of sources for optimal vitamin D health.