Need a little more light in your life?
Have you noticed yourself feeling anxious, depressed, fatigued, or weak?
Amongst other things, this could be in-part, due to a lack of vitamin D in your system.
Did you know that… Vitamin D plays a key role in the absorption of both calcium and phosphate, through the intestines. We know calcium as the bone building and protecting vitamin, making vitamin D its co-requisite for a healthy and durable skeletal system.
We consume vitamin C via supplementation or by taking in a variety of produce, such as bell peppers, broccoli, and oranges, but where do we retrieve our vitamin D from?
Humans synthesise vitamin D through two methods: One is by adsorbing UV rays from the sun, through the skin, and using the energy obtained from the sun for cutaneous production of the vitamin. Another is through certain food sources.
Here in Vancouver, we only have access to enough sunlight required for the body to synthesise vitamin D, from May to September. This means that from Autumn, through to the end of Spring, our bodies are lacking the necessary resources to produce vitamin D, endogenously. This is partly why, during summer months you may notice you feel more energized.
You are not alone, according to a 2015 article from Stats Canada, about 40% of Canadians are not meeting the adequate vitamin D recommendation for healthy bones during the winter season. This percentage drops to 25% during the summer, which is still quite a large proportion of us.
This means we may want to resort to our other best pathway for accessing vitamin D, which is through nutritional means. However, this can also serve as a challenge, as Vitamin D is found in rather low quantities in foods. Some examples of these vitamin D-rich foods are fish, cheese, mushrooms and fortified products, such as milk and orange juice.
The charts below outline some possible ways to incorporate more vitamin D in your diet.
|Food||IUs per serving*||Percent DV**|
|Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon||1,360||340|
|Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces||566||142|
|Salmon (sockeye), cooked, 3 ounces||447||112|
|Tuna fish, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces||154||39|
|Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup (check product labels, as amount of added vitamin D varies)||137||34|
|Egg, 1 large (vitamin D is found in yolk)||41||10|
|Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup (more heavily fortified cereals might provide more of the DV)||40||10|
|Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce||6||2|
* IUs = International Units.
** DV = Daily Value. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed DVs to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of products within the context of a total diet.
So what do we do from September to May, when the sun is scarce, and eating three ounces of swordfish each day seems less than feasible for us? And what about the large proportion of us living in Vancouver who do not consume meat and/or dairy products?
Just like we use supplementations for our other vitamin-related insufficiencies, we have resources to do the same with Vitamin D.
Next time you are in our clinic, ask your doctor if vitamin D injections would benefit you personally. If you are new to our site and want to learn more, or follow up with a personalized consultation, book an appointment with one of our certified, award winning Naturopathic Doctors.