Vitamin D – Why all the hype?
Since the pandemic began, the conversation surrounding vitamin D and the role it plays in preventing illness—specifically respiratory illness—has been a hot topic in the healthcare community.
Although observational studies examining the link between vitamin D and COVID-19 have begun to emerge, there remains a lack of high-quality evidence to support the claim that this essential vitamin has preventative qualities or treatment potential when it comes to coronavirus. Regardless of the conflicting (and often, misleading) information surrounding its impact on COVID-19, there is consensus amongst healthcare providers that adequate vitamin D is required for overall health.
Ensuring you are getting enough, especially during the winter months, is very important. Health experts recommend daily intake for Canadians as 400-800 IU (10-20 mcg) daily depending on your stage of life, with a tolerable upper intake level of 1,000-4,000 IU (25-100 mcg) daily.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps the body use calcium and phosphorus to build strong teeth and bones. This fat-soluble vitamin is found in a few food sources but is also a hormone made by our bodies. Because of this unique trait, vitamin D production in the skin is a natural source of this nutrient for those living in sunny climates. However, for those of us experiencing a Canadian winter, eating fortified foods and supplementing with vitamin D may be required to meet daily RDA’s (recommended dietary allowance). In addition to lack of sunlight, you may also be at a higher risk for
vitamin D deficiency if you:
- Have dark skin
- Experience chronic digestive issues
- Are obese
- Are a senior
Which foods are rich in vitamin D?
The majority of foods rich in vitamin D come from animal sources. Eggs, liver and fatty fish are all great sources of this essential vitamin. Those who refrain from eating animal products can seek out fortified foods, such as cereals or plant-based milk, to help reach their daily requirements
of vitamin D.
Taking a supplement is also an easy and affordable way to ensure you are getting enough. But before introducing new treatments or supplements into your regime, consult with your healthcare team. As a fat-soluble vitamin, our bodies store vitamin D and this can (in some cases) result in toxicity. Although this is rare, negative health outcomes can arise from taking too many supplements.
Questions about vitamin D and whether or not you’re getting enough?
Here’s how our Calgary family doctors can help.
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