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How To Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D plays a role in more than healthy bones, and adequate consumption is important for overall health. Vitamin D is obtained from skin exposure to sunlight, or from food sources and supplements. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include rickets and osteomalacia. Let’s have a look at how to avoid vitamin D deficiency!

Vitamin DPin

why you should take vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin important for good health. It can be obtained from natural food sources, sunlight exposure, or as a supplement. Along with calcium, vitamin D helps to prevent osteoporosis in older adults.

Vitamin D is needed for:

  1. The absorption of calcium and phosphorous;
  2. Bone mineralisation, bone growth, and bone remodeling;
  3. Neuromuscular and immune function;
  4. And reducing inflammation.

Food Sources of Vitamin D

Adequate vitamin D intake is important not only for calcium absorption and bone health, but also for a healthy immune system, and studies suggest higher vitamin D intake may lower the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease. A deficiency in this nutrient can cause osteomalacia (misshapen bones) in adults and rickets in children. Adding the top food sources of Vitamin D to the diet helps to prevent deficiency and promote overall health.

Many of the top food sources of fortified vitamin D such as ready-to-eat cereals, bread, margarine, yogurts, orange juice, and milk products. Vitamin D is found naturally in few foods. Besides fortified foods, good food sources of vitamin D include:

  • cod liver oil
  • cooked salmon
  • mackerel
  • tuna canned in water
  • sardines canned in oil
  • mushrooms which have been exposed to ultraviolet light in order to increase vitamin D levels

Beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese also contain small amounts of vitamin D.

How To Avoid Vitamin D DeficiencyPin

How much vitamin D do you need? The National Institutes of Health currently recommends a daily intake of 5 mcg (600 IU) of vitamin D is adequate for adults aged 19 to 70 years, if there is no exposure to sunlight. This is increased to 15 mcg (800 IU) for adults aged 71 and over.

Also, check with a physician or nutritionist to find out how much intake you need.

Vitamin D Supplements

Those who wish to supplement with vitamin D should look for vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. Many multivitamins contain this form of vitamin D, so taking extra in the form of a stand-alone vitamin D supplement is not always necessary. Vitamin D is also available as a supplement or as an injection

Vitamin D can interact with certain medications, so be sure to speak to your doctor before increasing its intake or adding a supplement to your diet.

Sun Exposure and Vitamin D Synthesis

The most important source of vitamin D is sunlight exposure. Uncovered skin absorbs ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which enable the body to synthesise vitamin D, but it is difficult to say exactly how much sun exposure is needed by each person. The intensity of UVB rays is affected by factors such as the time of year, time of day, latitude, cloud cover, smog, shade, and the amount of melanin in the skin.

Cancer Research UK advises only a short time in the sun is needed for the body to synthesise enough vitamin D. Continued sun exposure that allows for tanning or getting sunburned is unnecessary to meet vitamin D requirements, and increases the risk of skin cancer. People who live in countries of northern latitude can build up their vitamin D levels during the summer months in order to prevent vitamin D deficiency during the winter.

Effects of vitamin d deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone softening due to poor bone mineralisation. This is known as osteomalacia (bone pains, weak muscles, and fractures) in adults, and rickets (deformity of the skeleton, bow legs, and aches and pains) in children. Long term, a vitamin D deficiency and poor calcium absorption may result in osteoporosis.

Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

A vitamin D deficiency can be caused by not eating enough vitamin D-containing foods, getting too little sun exposure, or poor absorption of vitamin D.

Who is most likely to have vitamin D deficiency

The following groups of people are particularly vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency:

  1. People aged 50 and over. Older people cannot synthesise vitamin D as efficiently as they used to.
  2. People with limited exposure to sunlight. People who spend most of their time indoors, such as elderly people who are housebound or living in residential homes, are at risk as UVB rays cannot penetrate glass.
  3. If you cover your skin when outside. Fully covering skin with clothing when outside prevents UVB rays penetrating the skin.
  4. Darker skinned people. High levels of melanin filter out UVB rays, so more exposure to sunlight is needed to manufacture sufficient vitamin D.
  5. People who absorb vitamin D poorly. Liver disease, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and gastric bypass surgery may result in poor absorption of vitamin D.
  6. People who are very overweight. Obesity increases the requirement for vitamin D.
How To Avoid Vitamin D DeficiencyPin

As you can see, it’s important to make sure your daily intake of Vitamin D is adequate for optimal health in order to avoid Vitamin D deficiency. If regular exposure to sunlight is not possible, more foods should be eaten that contain vitamin D. Supplementation may also be necessary to avoid symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

Lyne Proulx
Lyne Proulxhttps://ottawamommyclub.ca/
Lyne Proulx is a Certified WEBB Bodywork Pet Practitioner, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. She loves all things Disney and is an avid teaholic and chocoholic. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

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  1. I notice my body aches more in the Canadian winters and I am darker in skin tone… I know I am Vitamin D deficient and its become more obvious since I started to work out intensively. Thank you for the tips and list of foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.

  2. Good article, I always try to take vitamin d in the winter months as I don’t get out as much and the days are so short compared to the summer months.

  3. Good article, I always try to take vitamin d in the winter months as I don’t get out as much and the days are so short compared to the summer months.


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