Lacking in Vitamin D?

I previously wrote an article about vitamin supplementing and spoke a little bit about Vitamin D. I wanted to go more in-depth with this particular vitamin and pose a question.  Are you getting enough Vitamin D? Most adults seem to fall short on this particular vitamin. Vitamin D is a common deficiency in a vegan diet. It is a star nutrient that has numerous health benefits. It can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, weight gain, depression and many more. The most important thing about vitamin D is that it keeps the bones strong. Vitamin D can be obtained through a little sunbathing, drinking milk or eating certain fishes. If you do have a deficiency, you can easily obtain it from the sun. Yet an estimated 40-75% of the people are still deficient. What if you don’t live in an area where the sun shines often or you lead a Vegan lifestyle? What are some other vegan ways you can achieve this? 

1. Sun
The obvious is getting it from the Sun. If it’s a nice day out, about 20 to 25 minutes of exposure would be helpful. Make sure you’re not out there too long. Take in the sun at small amounts one at a time withour sunscreen will help.

2. Mushrooms
Yes, certain mushrooms contain vitamin D. Like humans, mushroom can produce vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet light. Mushrooms are usually grown in the dark places so you will have to look for special brands that contain it. Dole’s special Portobello Mushrooms is exposed to ultraviolent light and contains vitamin D. Dole’s portobellows will give you 400 IUs of vitamin D.

3. Fortified Cereal
Cereals like Multi Grain Cheerios are fortified with vitamin D. 1 cup serving of cereal 1/2 cup of fortified milk is 90 IUs. Add a 8-ounce glass of fortified OJ and your total is close to 200 IUs of vitamin D. 

4. Soy and Rice Milk
Some of these milks are fortified with vitamin D. Be sure to check the label as not all soy and rice milks contain vitamin D.

5. Orange Juice
That’s right, there are some orange juices out there that are fortified with vitamin D. Florida Natural Orange Juice and Minute Maid Kids+ Orange Juice contain 100 IUs per 8-ounce serving.

6. Supplements
This would be the most consistent way of getting the proper daily dose of vitamin D. Please consult with your doctor about the dosage that is the best for you. Each person’s dosage will vary depending on age, weight, diet, etc.

7. Ultraviolet Lamps & Bulbs
This last option is a bit extreme, but this one is particularly for those who are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. If this is the case, that person will have to resort to UV-emitting lamps and bulbs. This is last resort way for a person to absorb the vitamin if they are unable to get it during the winter months where the sun is lacking. You will have to consult with your doctor is this the route that you will be going towards.

Getting a good amount of vitamin D is essential to your body. Vitamin D can help absorb calcium from the intestine which helps build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D with calcium can help prevent osteoporosis in older adults. If your body doesn’t receive enough vitamin D, your bones can become brittle and more prone to fracture. Vitamin D has the ability to regulate your immune system and stimulates your pancreas to make insulin. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of developing diseases. 

If you do find that you lack in vitamin D, make sure you don’t overdo it though. This particular vitamin is a a fat-soluble vitamin which build up in the body and is not easily excreted as water-soluble vitamins. The safest maximum amount to consume vitamin D is 4,000 IU. So go out there and bathe in the sun a little, your body will thank you for it later.

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