Buh-bye Summer, Hello Vitamin D!

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake Vitamins—their purpose, role, and need always seem to be the focus of many discussions. This is largely due to mainstream media articles and a few studies suggesting that vitamin supplements aren’t necessary for all individuals. Disclaimer: this statement is true. Not everyone needs to take a multivitamin; you may not be deficient in a nutrient if you’re eating a variety of foods in adequate portions. But...

Having said this, there is one nonnegotiatiable supplement, and that my friends is vitamin D. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D can actually be made in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight. We can also source vitamin D from a few food sources, such as in fortified milk, fish, and to a lesser extent, eggs and mushrooms.  A quick fact: to get enough vitamin D from milk, you would need to drink 10 cups per day. Idealistic? Sure. Realistic? Unlikely.

Because of  its’ poor bioavailability in foods,  we run the risk of being vitamin D deficient. Furthermore, when you live in a city affectionately called “Winterpeg” it can be difficult to make vitamin D subcutaneously because we’re often bundled up in the spring, fall, and winter months. According to research, Canadians actually produce zero vitamin D between October and May. And, if you’re wearing sunscreen in the summer months you’re also less likely to being producing vitamin D.

There’s so much fuss about it, but do I really need vitamin D?

It plays a key role in helping our bodies absorb and utilize calcium. As a result, we can help maintain healthy bones, muscles, and teeth by having a-okay stores of vitamin D. Beyond this, new research is showing that the human body has evolved with more receptors for vitamin D. Increasingly, there is substantial evidence that vitamin D can improve our immune health, prevent certain forms of cancer, fight inflammation, and even promote better mental health.

So what’s the point? Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeIt’s virtually impossible to get enough vitamin D from food alone. Consider taking a single vitamin D3 supplement. I typically recommend my clients take between 1000 – 2000IU daily depending on their intake of other vitamin D containing foods. Because I tend to see more South Asian's in my practice, more often than not I find I'm suggesting clients take an even 2000IU in the winter and then 1000IU in the summer months. This recommendation applies to anyone I see over the age of one (so, basically everyone!).

If you or a family member is not a ‘pill person,’ talk to your pharmacist about a liquid or chewable version of vitamin D which is readily available. I recently sampled vitamin D drops from Genestra Brands and I was thoroughly pleased! I was able to conveniently store it next to my toothbrush, meaning, I always remembered to take it! It also happened to be great tasting and I find it great for folks who are already taking a number of medications or supplements. Yum.

Can I overdo taking vitamin D?

Vitamin D supplements have no known side effects if they’re taken at the appropriate dose. A dose of 4,000 IU/day is considered the tolerable highest dose a person can consume long-term without risk of adverse effects. Still concerned? Feel free to contact me or speak to your physician for more information!

                 - With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

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