I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she was on her way to the beach to get her "daily dose of Vitamin D," she said. While it's true that 10-15 minutes of sunshine (ultraviolet-B), 3 times a week, is all the time your body needs to produce the required amount of Vitamin D, I wouldn't use it as an excuse to go out and bake in the sun. Remember that too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Besides, you can eat enough Vitamin D to get your RDI.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is used by the body in the absorption of calcium. It also helps to maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is found in foods like dairy, oily fish, fortified cereals, egg yolks and mushrooms.
A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to Osteoporosis, so if you are not getting enough through the sun and foods, you may want to supplement.
The RDI for Vitamin D is 5–10 mcg or 200–400 International Units (IU). To find out how much is in the food we eat
Your RDI of Vitamin D looks like this:
|Food||Amount||Amount of Vitamin D in IU|
|Cod liver oil||2 tbsp||1,360 (whoa!)|
|Cooked salmon||3.5 oz||360|
|Canned tunafish||3 oz||200|
|Milk (skim, lowfat, whole)||1 cup||98|
|Fortified cereal||3/4 cup||40-50|
|Raw mushrooms||1/2 cup||27|
Is there such a thing as getting too much Vitamin D? Yes! Vitamin D toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. It can also raise blood levels of calcium, causing mental issues such as confusion, and heart rhythm abnormalities. Calcinosis, the deposition of calcium and phosphate in soft tissues like the kidneys can also be caused by vitamin D toxicity. Unless you are spending hours in the sun and eating tons of cod liver oil (ick!), "overdosing" on Vitamin D isn't something you need to worry about.