blog_image.jpg

Now playing on a health news segment near you: vitamin D. The latest research has repeatedly linked health risks with vitamin D deficiency. The two newest reports:

  • Researchers studied more than 13,000 people nationwide for an average of nine years. During that time, those with the lowest vitamin D levels were 25 percent more likely to die than the people with the highest levels.
  • About 3,000 adults were followed for an average of eight years. The lower their vitamin D levels, the more likely they were to die of cardiovascular disease or any other cause during that time.

Sun is the main source of vitamin D

The lowest levels in these studies were below the recommended intake. However, experts estimate that about 40 percent of men and half of women in the U.S. are getting lower-than-optimal amounts. Although experts are still exploring its role in prolonging life, vitamin D is important to include in your diet for its other proven effects. It helps the body absorb calcium, which keeps bones strong and prevents osteoporosis.
The skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Most people are able to meet their needs this way. The general rule is that 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight two to three times a week is sufficient. But some people may need more help meeting their vitamin D amounts, including:

  • From November through February, people living in locations as far north as Boston or farther north.
  • Obese people. Fat traps the nutrient, keeping it out of the bloodstream.
  • Those with darker skin. They have more of the pigment melanin, which reduces skin’s vitamin D-producing abilities.
  • Older adults. The body’s ability to make and use vitamin D declines with age.

You can get more “D” in your diet

Doctors recommend that adults consume 200 international units of vitamin D daily until age 50, 400 IUs daily until age 70 and 600 IUs daily after age 70. The following foods are good sources:

  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines (200 to 360 IUs per 3.5 ounces)
  • Fortified cereal, juice or milk (40 to 100 IUs per serving; check the nutrition label for serving size)
  • Eggs, including yolks (20 IUs per egg)

If you’re concerned about your levels, talk with your doctor to find out if supplements are an option for you.

Please Leave a Comment

First time commenters will have their comment moderated. Sorry.