25 Jan Vitamin D – Why it Matters and How to Get Enough
Did you know that because Canada is located above the 35° North latitude, the average Canadian’s exposure to sunlight is insufficient to maintain adequate vitamin D levels?
In fact, 50% of the world’s population is estimated to have a vitamin D deficiency! This is especially the case during the winter when we cover our skin while outside. The best source of Vitamin D is the sun on our bare skin. Those living above 35° North latitude do not get sun at a direct enough angle to absorb enough vitamin D, and our indoor lifestyles make Vitamin D supplementation appropriate for the general population.
Signs You Are Vitamin D Deficient:
- sore achy bones and muscles – especially in your back
- muscle cramps
- mood changes – feeling sad, easily overwhelmed
Why Vitamin D Matters – It’s all about the Calcium, Phosphorous:
- helps to absorb calcium to prevent bone loss
- keeps bones strong by absorbing calcium and phosphorous – prevents bone weakness and bone density loss
- supports para-thyroid systems – so that your body doesn’t take the calcium away from your bones
Who Should Especially Take a Vitamin D Supplement?
- infants who are breastfeeding
- people with less sun exposure (almost everyone in Manitoba!)
- older people
- people with darker skin colours
- people who are overweight (30+ BMI)
- people with malabsorption conditions
How do I Choose a Vitamin D Supplement?
There are two types of Vitamin D. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 is made from yeast, whereas D3 is made directly from lanolin, fish oil (especially cod liver oil), and algae oil (appropriate for vegans). D3 has been shown to be more effective.
Vitamin D is available as a liquid, condensed drops, or tablets.
Be careful when choosing fish oil supplements; fish oils contain mercury and other metals and it is important to carefully choose a supplement that is safe.
In addition to vitamin D supplements, the following foods contain vitamin D:
- oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, canned tuna
- red meat
- egg yolks
- fortified foods – milk, soy milk, breakfast cereals, and instant oatmeal
Make sure you don’t miss your Vitamin D!