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News Room: ENQUIRER: Let vitamin D shine down on you
By: Toni Schklar
When asked, “If you could take only one supplement, what would it be?” Dr. Mehmet Oz immediately replied, “Vitamin D”.
Here’s why: Vitamin D has a multifaceted role in the proper functioning of the human body and its ability to lower the risk of illnesses. Sufficient amounts of vitamin D are necessary for:
- Maintaining bone health; (deficiency in childhood is rickets);
- respiratory infections prevention and decreasing severity of asthma;
- skeletal muscles functioning properly;
- cardiovascular disease prevention;
- brain development and mental function maintenance in later life; and
- cancer risk reduction.
Sunshine is the natural way to get vitamin D. It is manufactured in the human skin when in contact with the ultraviolet light in the sun’s rays.
Our current lifestyle of working indoors and using sunscreen (a necessary precaution for prevention of skin cancer) when outdoors has significantly decreased our exposure to the sun. In addition, our vitamin D benefit from sun exposure is diminished during winter.
Foods that contain vitamin D include fish liver oil, egg yolks, butter, oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and herring; some foods such as cereals are fortified with vitamin D.
Supplements: For a healthy individual, the recommended supplemental intake for vitamin D is 400 IUs, or roughly 10 micrograms per day. Therapeutic doses for problems treated with vitamin D are about 1,000-1,500 IUs per day. In some cases of vitamin D deficiency, larger doses are prescribed. Vitamin D supplementation in doses larger than the recommended daily allowance should always be done under physician supervision.
A blood level can be measured during an annual physical exam. People in the following categories are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency are seniors; diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis; gastrointestinal disease; liver disease.
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