Nutrition 101

Vitamin D = Sun. Diet. Supplements.

Vitamin D is a nutrient needed to maintain strong bones and for overall good health. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies and protects against the loss of bone mass. Vitamin D helps regulate how much calcium remains in our blood, helps muscles function and is needed to maintain the nervous system. Vitamin D plays an important role with the immunity as well. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to mood swings, depression, lack of energy, chronic skin conditions, and other chronic diseases. There are three ways to get vitamin D: the sun, diet or supplements.

from the Sun – known as the "sunshine vitamin," the body converts sunlight into vitamin D after it hits unprotected skin.

from the Diet very few foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are among the best sources of vitamin D. Check out Spotlight on Taste for more sources of Vitamin D in the diet.

from Supplements – some individuals may require a vitamin D supplement. Typically, this may include seniors, breast-fed infants, people with dark skin, individuals with certain medical conditions including kidney and liver disease, celiac disease and Crohn's disease; and those with obesity or a history of gastric bypass surgery. Always check with your health care provider before taking a vitamin D supplement. Tip: If supplementation is recommended, take it with food to help absorption.

Regardless if the vitamin D comes from food, a supplement or the sun, it requires a series of complex metabolisms that are necessary before the vitamin becomes biologically active. Vitamin D was identified as “an under-consumed nutrient” in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As a result, beginning January 2020, the nutrition facts on a food label will now include the vitamin D content along with the % Daily Value (DV) of vitamin D that is provided per serving. In general, any food that provides 20% or more of the DV is considered to be a high source of the nutrient. However, foods providing lower percentages of the DV can also contribute to a healthful diet.

The most well-established consequences of a vitamin D deficiency are osteomalacia, osteopenia and osteoporosis in adults. Osteomalacia refers to a marked softening of the bones. Osteoporosis and osteopenia (the precursor of osteoporosis) refers to a decrease in bone density. Rickets, the softening and weakening in bones in children as a result of an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency, has become rare in the United States relating to the fortification of milk with vitamin D that began in the 1930s. FYI: Vitamin D toxicity is rare and typically due to extremely high doses vitamin D.

According to our Experts, there are reasons why your Vitamin D levels may be low! Click here to read what they are!

Nutrition 101