Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium from your food. Without it, your body would not have the calcium it needs to build strong bones.
How does vitamin D affect your bones?
Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced by the human body during exposure to sunlight. It supports the absorption of calcium, the bone’s most important element. Vitamin D must be present for calcium to be properly absorbed. It partners with vitamins A and K2 to direct calcium and other minerals into bones and teeth.
Vitamin D is also critical for bone remodeling, a process by which old bone tissue is broken down and absorbed into the body, then replaced by new bone tissue.
My vitamin D story
I had a vitamin D deficiency many years ago, which came to light, not because of symptoms, but during the 25-hydroxyvitamin D lab test. My doctor advised me to spend time in the sun and take a vitamin D3 supplement. After following this advice for several years, I was tested again. The follow-up test indicated a Vitamin D excess. To bring the level down, my doctor recommended that I stop taking Vitamin D3 supplements for several months. The next time I was tested, my Vitamin D level was normal.
Today, I get vitamin D from the sun, food, and a vitamin D3 supplement. To avoid excess or deficiency, I use the 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test to monitor my levels.
What foods are high in vitamin D?
Unfortunately, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Fatty fish have the highest levels. However, you can get smaller amounts from cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms (chanterelle, crimini, portabella, maitake, and morel). The amount varies depending on how much time the animal or plant spent outdoors in sunlight.
How much Vitamin D do you need?
According to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is 600 IU (15 micrograms) per day for adult men and women, If you are over 70 years old, the RDA is 800 IU (20 micrograms). RDA is the amount of a nutrient the FNB estimates is required to meet the nutritional needs of nearly all healthy people.
Your dietary requirements are unique. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice on your particular needs.
Recipes for vitamin D
What vitamin D foods do you like?
Let me know your favorites in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.
For more information
Your Bones: How you can prevent osteoporosis & have strong bones for life
By Lara Pizzorno with Jonathan V. Wright
Vitamin and Minerals 101 by Chris Masterjohn, PhD
Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Fact Sheets