Natural Sources of Vitamin D
If you suffer from pain in bones and muscles, depression and hair loss, these are all symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. According to medical researches approximately 1 billion people in our planet experience the shortage of vitamin D. Unfortunately, there are few natural sources that contain Vitamin D. In this article you can find information about how to get this nutrient in natural way.
Vitamin D deficiency
First of all, let’s see how deficiency of vitamin D can lead to problems listed before. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential in calcium absorption. It promotes the growth and mineralization of bones. Vitamin D is also involved in the working process of immune, nervous and digestive systems.
When people do not get vitamin D in the right amount, their bones become brittle and muscles become weak. Its consequences can be serious – osteoporosis, osteomalacia and rickets in children. Moreover, chronic deficiency of vitamin D can lead to some diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension or Alzheimer’s.
Studies show that shortage of vitamin D can be one of the reasons of cancer emergence, particularly, breast and prostate cancers. Besides, supplement of vitamin D in a sufficient amount helps you to protect against respiratory infections and flu.
Daily requirement of Vitamin D
“How much vitamin D do I need daily to be healthy?” you may ask. The answer can surprise you, because different organizations set different amounts as a “norm”. The daily dosage is measured in international units (UI). The National Institute of Health recommends the following amount:
Children up to 11 months – 400 IU (10mcg)
Children and adults – 600 IU (15mcg)
Seniors – 800 IU (20mcg)
National Academy of Medicine also considers that 600-800 IU is sufficient amount for majority people. However, the US Endocrine Society suggests 1500-2000 IU per day, while the Vitamin D Council recommends 4000 IU vitamin D daily.
Although there is no one set dosage, 1000-4000 IU is considered to be safe dose for most people to remain healthy .
Vitamin D is often called “the sunshine vitamin”. The sun is the fastest and easiest way of getting this nutrient. Go outside and walk about 15-20 minutes under sunlight. This amount of time of sun exposure is enough to fulfill your daily need for vitamin D. Cholesterol in your skin becomes vitamin D under the influence UV-B radiation from the sun.
If it’s so easy to get this nutrient, then why vitamin D deficiency occurs with so many people? How much vitamin can make your body depends on several factors:
Skin tone and age – darker skin contains more melanin (skin pigment) that blocks the sunlight. Besides, with the age the process of vitamin D production becomes less efficient.
Season of the year – during the summer direct sunlight is in abundance. However, in wintertime you aren’t going to get enough vitamin D through only sunlight.
Geographic location – the farther you live from the equator, the less vitamin D you’ll be able to produce. Those who live in Northern countries do not get enough sun exposure; therefore, they suffer from vitamin shortage more than others.
Sunscreen – using sunscreen reduces the ability to synthesize vitamin D by 95%. It is important to protect the skin from cancer, but 20 minutes of direct sunlight isn’t harmful for your skin.
Also, keep in mind that sunlight through the window won’t work. Accordingly, you can’t take sunbath indoors or inside your car.
Among natural food sources of vitamin D fatty fish and fish oil stand in the top position. The highest quantity contains mackerel – 643 IU in 100g. Other oily fish that are rich in Vitamin D are salmon (441 IU), tuna (227 IU) and herring (167 IU). One important fact, during thermal processing we lose part of the vitamin D.
Egg yolk is a great product that is rich in vitamin D that you can add to your routine. 100g of egg yolk contains half of the daily dosage. It also when exposed to heat lost some part of vitamin D. For example, during boiling-15%, frying-20% and roasting more than 30 minutes-60%.
Researchers identified that eggs from chickens that rose outside with the access to sunlight contain 4 times more vitamin D than those remained indoors.
Regardless of the color, caviar is one of the best food sources to get natural vitamin D. Caviar not only gives you enjoyment with wonderful taste, but also boosts your health because of the bucket of vitamins and minerals. The amount of vitamin D in caviar equals to 117 IU.
Beef liver is another natural source of vitamin D. Despite that beef liver contains other nutrients like vitamin A and iron, this product is also high in cholesterol. To keep your health at norm you’d better avoid having high level of cholesterol in your organism.
Among seafood products shrimps and oysters have vitamin D, but its level isn’t high as in fish or caviar. However, seafood is very beneficial for health for its richness in selenium, iron and phosphorus. Studies show that wild caught seafood products contain more nutrients than farmed ones.
Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of the vitamin D. As it is plant, it also can produce vitamin D due to sun exposure like humans. For vegetarians or vegans mushroom is a good substitute to fish, as it also contain high amount of vitamin D. But not all mushrooms, only specific types, like maitake and shiitake. While maitake mushroom contains 1124 IU per 100g, shiitake mushroom contains 154 IU per 100g.
Wild mushrooms are more nutritious due to higher level of sun exposure. However, commercially grown mushrooms also may contain the same amount of vitamin D like wild ones, if they are treated with UV light.
Milk and ricotta cheese
If you like dairy products, consume more milk and ricotta cheese to get more vitamin D. But, don’t forget, dairy products are not rich in this nutrient and with their amount you cannot fulfill your daily need. However, with fortified milk you can get up to 124 IU of vitamin D. Moreover, milk and ricotta cheese are the great sources of calcium that are inevitable for your bones and teeth.
In the end, I want to say you go outside more – to get fresh air as well as natural vitamin D from the sun. If you cannot do this regularly, there are several food sources rich in natural vitamin D that help you to be healthy.