The days are shorter, the air colder and our motivation to go outside is dwindling. With fewer daylight hours, it is a good reminder to make sure we are getting enough of the sunshine vitamin – Vitamin D.
Hardly a week goes by where new research isn’t showing us the benefits of this powerful nutrient for the entire family. Vitamin D is not just for healthy bones anymore. A growing body of research is showing us that Vitamin D is important in cancers, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease and immune function.
Given Vitamin D’s many benefits, ensuring we get enough is important. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine increased their recommendations to the following:
0-12 months - 400 IU daily;
1-70 years - 600 IU daily;
>70 years - 800 IU daily.
Some scientists argue the values should be higher, yet medical supervision is advised if you are taking very large doses of this fat soluble vitamin.
Food and Sun
Vitamin D comes from two places - we take it into our bodies in foods and supplements, and our bodies produce it after sunlight exposure. If you are tallying up the numbers and trying to see how much everyone is getting at your house, there are a few naturally occurring food sources of Vitamin D – fatty fish, fish liver oils and egg yolks. Fortified foods such as milk, margarine and some cereals comprise most of our dietary Vitamin D intake. From diet alone, children and adults would need to drink 1.5 L of milk per day to meet their Vitamin D needs.
If the sun is your source of Vitamin D, Canadians are especially at risk of seasonal Vitamin D deficiency. If you live north of 35º latitude, the Canadian Osteoporosis society argues that the winter sunlight does not contain enough ultraviolet B for Vitamin D production. If you live in this area, use sunscreen or spend limited time outside, you may want to consider a Vitamin D supplement.
The Lowdown on Supplements
Vitamin D supplements are available in 2 forms, D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).
Vitamin D2 is synthesized from yeast. Vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight. Nutritionally, they are very similar but at higher doses Vitamin D3 is more potent and has a longer duration of action making it a good choice when choosing a Vitamin D supplement for you and your family.
Each Adult Essentials Vitamin D Gummy contains 1000IU of Vitamin D3