Updated: Aug 2, 2019
A few years ago, my health coach recommended I get my Vitamin D level checked. At that time, I wasn’t a health coach and didn’t understand why she would make that recommendation. She talked to me about the importance of Vitamin D, but I didn’t really understand until doing my own research. I felt fine, so I didn’t think Vitamin D was a big deal.
Today, I understand how important Vitamin D is to bone and muscle strength, preventing chronic diseases, immune function, and our overall mortality.
Here are five things you should know:
1. Overall, 75% of the world is Vitamin D deficient. We are not getting enough sun. If you are not getting outside and walking in the sun for at least 15-minutes every day, you may be deficient. The goal is to get some sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Based on research, this time frame is important because the sun's Ultraviolet B or UVB rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, which provides the energy for Vitamin D synthesis to occur. People who have dark complexions, older individuals, and those who are overweight often have lower levels of Vitamin D.
2. Scientists recommend a Vitamin D blood level between 40-60 ng/ml.
3. It is in every cell in your body and affects many health outcomes.
4. The first step everyone should take is to test your Vitamin D level.
5. Use the calculator to see how to adjust your Vitamin D intake to reach your target: https://grassrootshealth.net/?post_projects=dcalculator
There are very few foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D, so the primary dietary sources of vitamin D are fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, fatty fish (salmon), mushrooms, and vitamin supplements.
Check out Lead Yourself to Optimum Health with Plant-Based Nutrition for more things to know about Vitamin D, as it relates to plant-based eaters -- vegans and vegetarians.
Grassroots Health. (2017). Retrieved from https://grassrootshealth.net/
Harvard T.H. Chan: School of Public Health. (2019). Vitamin D. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/