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Food Sources High In Vitamin D

Author:   Peter Sedesse MD

Vitamin D Recommended Daily Amounts

Vitamin D is obtained mainly from fish and dairy sources like milk and cheese. Vitamin D is different than other vitamins because it can be manufactured by the body. The process required to make Vitamin D requires direct, and rather strong sunlight. In parts of the world far away from the equator, this process is difficult, especially for those who work indoors. Vitamin D is mainly used by the body to control the storage and usage of calcium, although it has other functions. The recommended amount of Vitamin D is 5mcg per day. Older individuals, especially women should try to consume 10mcg per day. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which is stored in the body if excess amounts are consumed.

Sunlight and Enriched Milk as sources of Vitamin D

While the most common food source high in Vitamin D is milk, this is only true because most milk is enriched with Vitamin D. Fresh milk directly from a cow has only modest amounts of Vitamin D. Many countries in northern Europe and the United States require milk to be enriched because sunlight exposure is insufficient to make the amount of Vitamin D required for optimal health. While many new health fads involve drinking unprocessed foods, milk should not be included in that list especially for those with limited sunlight availability, especially during the winter months. Because Vitamin D is produced naturally by the body, it is prudent to discuss some of the conditions required for its´ production. The amount of sunlight needed to supply our needs is about fifteen minutes, three or four times a week. The materials needed to create Vitamin D in cells is diminished after about fifteen minutes of direct sunlight, so getting fifteen minutes, four times a week is better than getting one hour of sunlight at one time. The sunlight produced in northern parts of the United States and Europe is not sufficient in winter months to produce a lot of Vitamin D. In those months, dietary intake is required. It is also worth mentioning that even clear glass deflects the part of sunlight required to make Vitamin D.

Fish and other Food Sources of Vitamin D

One of the best natural food sources of Vitamin D is fish, especially deep water fish like tuna and salmon. Throughout history, this has been a very fortunate thing as many northern areas of the world where sunlight is limited have easy access to fishing. A great source of Vitamin D is just one of the many health reasons why fish should replace red meat as often as possible in your meal plans. There are a variety of other food sources that contain moderate amounts of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is stored in many animals in the liver, which makes liver an excellent source. Whole grain foods along with mushrooms also have decent amount of Vitamin D.

Summary of Information about Vitamin D Food Sources

Vitamin D is usually obtained from foods sources like enriched milk and dairy products. Another great food that contains large amounts of Vitamin D is fish. Fish like salmon and tuna are very healthy and should be eaten as often as possible instead of red meat. In many parts of the world, Vitamin D can be created by the body using strong, direct sunlight.

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