Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that often misses our radar. But, it’s one of the few vitamins that I frequently suggest people add to their routines.
As we get older, it might be harder to get enough vitamin D. And we need bit more to help protect our health. Vitamin D helps with bone health which can protect you against osteoporosis. It might also play a role in protecting against some diseases including some cancers, but science is still learning more about this.
How much vitamin D should I try to get?
Both men and women should aim for:
19-70 years: 600 IU per day
71 or older: 800 IU per day
Things to consider:
-Health Canada advises people who are 50 years or more to take 400 IU per day of vitamin D from a supplement
-It’s important to stay below 4000 IU of vitamin D from both food and supplements … yet another example of how we can get too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to taking supplements. But good news is that you’re likely not getting too much unless you’re taking multiple medications or supplements with vitamin D in them
-Canadians tend to have lower levels of vitamin D than recommended
Where do we get vitamin D?
-(why it’s nickname the sunshine vitamin)
-when sun is on our skin, we use the rays to help our bodies make vitamin D
-only a few foods that we usually eat in Canada have vitamin D naturally
-some foods have vitamin D added to them (fortified) to help people get enough
- foods that have vitamin D naturally: fish and cod liver oil are good sources; egg yolks and mushrooms have a little
- foods that often have vitamin D added: orange juice, milk and milk products, skim milk powder, plant-based milk alternatives (like soy or almond beverages), margarine
-pills are commonly found anywhere that vitamins are sold
-often come in 400 IU or 1000 IU doses
-most often available as small pills but are also sold as a liquid drop which is helpful for people who have trouble swallowing
So what does that mean for me?
–You might not be getting as much vitamin D from the sun as you used to. Being indoors more often, staying in the shade and covering your skin with clothing or sunscreen means your body isn’t getting as much contact with the sun. Of course this is a trade-off as it’s still a good idea to reduce the amount of harmful UV rays we get from the sun.
–2 cups of milk gives you about 200 IU of vitamin D, a bit less if you drink soy or almond beverages.
–If you’re 50 or older, it is suggested that you take a vitamin D supplement of at least 400 IU every day.
Want some help figuring out if you’re missing anything in your eating? Get started working with Angela with your First Visit session to assess your overall eating and make a plan for your best nutritional health.
Angela Hubbard is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) with 10 years experience working in the field of nutrition. Her work focuses on empowering people with young minds and aging bodies as they enter their retirement years and beyond. In her off time she loves swapping recipes, creating and exploring Northern BC life with her young family.