WHAT IS THE D?
We’ve all heard from our doctors that getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is crucial to our health, but what does it do for us exactly? It is a nutrient that is required to maintain strong bones and helps absorb other important minerals related to bone health, such as calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D also helps with proper muscle and nerve function. These are the most common benefits you probably have heard about, but did you know that vitamin D can also help out with your immune system?
How does Vitamin D help with my immune system?
With COVID-19 happening, it is even more important that we keep our immune system healthy. Vitamin D plays an important role in proper immune system function. Our immune system uses vitamin D to defend the body from foreign bacteria and viruses. According to one study, vitamin D also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps enhance the function of our immune cells! In another recent study, they found out that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who had sufficient levels of vitamin D had decreased risk for adverse outcomes and death! Now that we know the benefits of vitamin D, let’s look at the sources of vitamin D!
Sources – Get some sunlight!
There are multiple ways you can get vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from the sun, through food and drinks or with supplements. Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. Our bodies converts the sunlight into vitamin D as it hits uncovered skin. Make sure to avoid long periods of exposure to sunlight without sunscreen!
Sources – Eat your Vitamin D!
For the best sources of vitamin D in foods, incorporate more fatty fish into your diet such as salmon and mackerel. Cheese, egg yolk, and beef liver have small amounts of vitamin D. Fortified foods and drinks such as orange juice, soy milk, and cereals contain vitamin D as well. Some individuals may not be able to get enough vitamin D from their diets and from the sun and may need supplementation. People with dark skin and older adults can benefit from a vitamin D supplement. However, always consult with your physician before taking any supplement.
How much Vitamin D should I get?
For adults 19 years and older, 600 IU daily for men and women is the recommended amount according to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Older adults >70 years should be getting 800 IU daily. It is also important that we don’t get too much vitamin D. Try not to exceed the UL or Tolerable Upper Intake Level. It is the level where its unlikely to cause harmful effects on our health. The UL is 4,000 IU for adults and children ages 9 and over.
Authored by: Allen Rong, Dietetic Intern