Scientists in Japan gave school children Vitamin D drops during the winter and found that fewer of these children got the flu while taking these drops. A recent Israeli study also showed that low plasma Vitamin D levels increased the likelihood of viral infection “among patients who were tested, even after adjustment for age, gender, socio-economic status and chronic, mental and physical disorders.”1
Who Is Most at Risk?
Studies show that 42% of Americans are low in Vitamin D levels. Certain groups of people are most at risk of being deficient:
- Older people. As we age, our skin and kidneys are not able to make Vitamin D as easily as they used to.
- Those with darker pigment skin. The darker one’s skin the more slowly this vitamin is produced.
- Those with digestive problems. People with diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, or digestion issues often have reduced nutrient absorption in the gut.
- Those who live in northern climates. Since the sun is not as intense and not out as long per day, many people living up north do not get enough sun exposure.
- Those taking certain medications. Some medications interfere with Vitamin D absorption.
- The obese. Vitamin D supplementation goes mainly into the fatty tissue of obese individuals, which stops it from getting to the blood where it can benefit the body.
If Vitamin D is so important for your health, and many are low in it, how do you get it? One way is to get out in the sun. A good recommendation is 15-20 minutes three times per week minimum. Another way is through supplementation. A third option is to increase your intake through the foods you eat. A typical person needs 15 mcg per day of Vitamin D. (For those over 70 years of age, 20 mcg per day is better.) One mcg is equal to 20 international units.
Good Food Sources of Vitamin D
Here are some good food sources:
- Salmon. A 3-ounce serving will give you from 10-18 mcg of Vitamin D. Wild coho salmon contains the lowest (10 mcg), and canned sockeye salmon contains the highest (18 mcg).
- Rainbow trout. A 3-ounce serving of this fish will give you 16 mcg.
- Tuna. Typically 6 mcg can be found in a 3-ounce serving.
- Portabella mushrooms. These contain 8 mcg per 3-ounce serving. A tip for getting a little extra is to put the mushrooms in the sun for a few minutes before eating them. The UV rays then raise the Vitamin D levels.
- Beef liver. This is also high in cholesterol, however.
- Egg yolks. These contain 1-2 mcg. however chickens that are raised out in the open—in the sunlight—may produce eggs with up to 3-4 times higher Vitamin D levels.
Fortified Food Sources
These foods are usually fortified with Vitamin D by the manufacturers:
- Orange juice. This will yield 2.5 mcg per cup. But be careful of the high sugar levels here.
- Milk. The typical fortification is 3 mcg per cup.
- Cereals. Within the past few years, many cereal manufacturers have raised the fortification to 2.5 mcg per serving.
- Nondairy milks such as soy milk, almond milk or rice milk. These will usually have 2.5 – 3 mcg per cup. Again, these can be high in fat, calories, and sugar.
If you would like to have your blood tested to see if your Vitamin D levels are appropriate, we can do lab testing for you. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 864-963-9304 if you have any questions.
*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional. Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.