How Do You Ensure You Have Enough Vitamin D?

I talk a lot about the importance of keeping your vitamin D levels up, particularly in the dark season of winter when we’re not spending much time in the sun.

My top recommendation for maintaining healthy vitamin D is always supplementation.

In my opinion, that’s the easiest way to boost your levels of this critical vitamin.

Some readers have questioned why I don’t recommend eating a vitamin D-rich diet to raise levels.

The answer is pretty simple. It’s not that I don’t recommend these foods, it’s that the amount of vitamin D in them isn’t high enough to make a difference.

Let me explain.

The current RDA for vitamin D is 600-800 IU daily, depending on age. With older folks requiring the most.

However, a healthy human body uses 3,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D per day for proper functioning.

800 IU just isn’t going to cut it.

Now, let’s take a look at foods “high” in vitamin D.

When it comes to vitamin D content, salmon is top on the list.

But a 3.5-ounce serving of farmed Atlantic salmon will only give you about 525 IU of vitamin D.

Wild-caught salmon contains more, almost double that amount. But still well below what your body needs to function properly.

Unless you’re going to eat 10 ounces of salmon every day, you’re going to fall short.

Herring is another fish touted for its vitamin D levels. 

But, a 3.5 ounce serving is only delivering about 215 IU.

If you’ve been with me awhile, you know I love my eggs.

A single egg has about 40 IU of vitamin D. But to make a dent in your vitamin D requirement, you’d need to eat about 25 eggs!

Now, 25 at a time is even too much for me.

Some foods and drinks are fortified with vitamin D. Milk, juice, cereal.

But on a per-serving basis, you’re only going to get 50-150 IU a pop from these options.

So, it’s not that I don’t think you should be eating foods with vitamin D.

It’s just in reality, you’d have to eat an unreasonable amount of them to even come close to the levels of vitamin D you need for maintaining good health.

By all means, eat salmon a couple times a week. Enjoy an omelet for breakfast. 

But you must fill the gap of what you eat and what you need. Because there will be a gap.

And that’s where supplementation comes in, particularly in the winter.

It’s simple, effective, and takes but a few seconds.

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Mary Gregory - February 8, 2021

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