I have observed that there are plenty of people interested in Vitamin D, its health benefits and best supplements to take to reach optimal levels. As you may know by now I am an eat first supplement if necessary person, so the intent of this article is to give you the basic facts about the health benefits of Vitamin D and the best sources with the highest contents found so you can decide if you need to supplement or not.
Vitamin D has many health benefits necessary for optimal function and health including:
- Absorption and transfer of minerals across cell membranes including; magnesium, iron and zinc, as well as calcium.
- Controlling levels of calcium in the blood. Low calcium levels in the diet will draw calcium out of the bones and into the blood thus resulting in bone loss. Vitamin D and calcium are both needed to maintain proper balance.
- Effective antioxidant properties
- Reduction of cataracts
- Maintains proper synthesis and release of insulin to control blood glucose levels which helps reduce the risk of diabetes
These are just some of the benefits of Vitamin D, and the benefits are significant enough to concern us that being deficient may bring with it several health concerns. One of the biggest concerns with Vitamin D deficiency is the association of low vitamin D and several diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and Crohn’s disease along with many cancers like skin breast, prostate and colon.
With its various functions, getting enough Vitamin D is necessary for optimal health. However, some have stayed away from known sources of Vitamin D for fear or toxicity. According to the Weston Price Foundation:
Vitamin programs usually omit vitamin D because of concerns about toxicity. These concerns are valid because vitamin D in all forms can be toxic in pharmacological (drug-like) doses. The dangers of toxicity have not been exaggerated, but the doses needed to result in toxicity have been ill defined with the unfortunate result that many people currently suffer from vitamin-D deficiency or insufficiency.
Even if you have fear of toxicity, supplementation may be unnecessary due to the number of ways to obtain Vitamin D and therefore toxicity from supplementation can be avoided. I will list the five sources that are some of the best sources of Vitamin D.
The most varietal food source containing Vitamin D is found in seafood. Did your mother ever give you a big, hearty teaspoon of cod liver oil before you went to school? You most likely didn’t like the taste, however she was doing you a great favor because cod liver oil ranks really high on the list of vitamin D sources.
One small serving of cod liver oil can contain anywhere around 750-900 IUs of Vitamin D. The RDA guidelines are around 200-400IUs daily. This range is considered low by some researches including the Weston Price Foundation who suggest that people were consuming around 3,000-6,000 IUs before the establishment of the western die; so if you follow their guidelines then you will be all set after one serving of cod liver oil.
I suggest that you get a good cod liver oil brand that is considered pure and high vitamin. The one I take is from Radiant Life (I do not make any money off of this suggestion).
If you really enjoy your seafood and want to add a little more Vitamin D to your diet, other seafood considered to have substantial vitamin D levels are: Atlantic herring, oysters, catfish, sardines, and mackerel.
The meats with the highest levels of Vitamin D usually come in the form of different liver varieties and organ meats. Also look for grass-fed beef and lamb as your best source for higher Vitamin D content.
I always get a little upset that people throw away the yolks when they cooks eggs thinking they are somehow bad for them. Hopefully this will shed some perspective on the situation. Egg yolks contain anywhere from 24-35IUs of Vitamin D; whereas egg whites contain ZERO! It’s true that most of the protein is found in the egg whites but the rich vitamins our bodies need are found only in the yolk. So either keep the egg intact or mail the yolks off to me so I can eat them.
Us humans have the ability to produce vitamin D from cholesterol catalyzed when our skin is exposed to the sun, however it would take a large amount of sun exposure (approximately 24 hours of UV-B ray exposure) to produce the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D; you would get a massive sunburn before this even happened.
However, don’t get discouraged. Minimal exposure to the sun a few times a week can help add some more Vitamin D towards the optimal levels. According to the Weston Price Foundation, sun exposure of hands, face and arms for 10-20 minutes, three times a week, provides 200-400 IU of vitamin D each time or an average of 100-200 IU per day during the summer months.
The necessity for optimal levels of Vitamin D in our bodies is obvious for disease prevention, hormone stabilization and maintaining a strong, healthy body. Unlike other vitamin sources Vitamin D is primarily obtained through seafood sources and organ meats.
With sun exposure contributing only minimal amounts of Vitamin D synthesis, it is important to eat a diet rich in seafood and organ meat. Also, supplementation with high quality cod liver oil may be necessary to reach these optimal levels.