Vitamin D is fat soluble and helps our bodies absorb magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, and phosphate. A Vitamin D deficiency can result in weak bones, and muscle weakness, and can also increase the risk of cancer and multiple sclerosis.
The minimum daily requirement daily of vitamin D most children and adults need is generally agreed to be 400 units. But the reality is that everyone is different, so actually everyones minimum daily requirement of vitamin D is different. To some extent, it depends on who you are and where you are.
Consider sunlight for example. A half hour of exposure to direct sunlight without sunscreen can provide much of the vitamin D you need. But if youre older, if your skin is darker, if its winter, or if you live in the mountains, you may have challenges getting as much vitamin D as your body needs to get and stay healthy.
Each one of these variables - age, ethnicity, season, location - are important considerations that can influence how much of this vital nutrient your body receives and how efficiently it processes it. The state of your health is another important variable. For example, in order to prevent heart disease, cancer, infections, and other conditions, some nutritionists recommend as much as 8,000 or more units each day for some people.
Most ice creams and cheeses are not fortified, but milk itself - from cows, soy, and rice - is often fortified with vitamin D. Some whole grain and multigrain cereals are fortified with vitamin D as well. Fortified orange juice is another good source.
Egg yolk is a rich source of vitamin D, but because of concerns about cholesterol, you should be careful not to overdo it. One egg contains about 200 milligrams of cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 300 milligrams a day.
Beef liver is also a potent source of this important vitamin along with vitamin A and iron, but like egg yolks it is also high in cholesterol, so it should be eaten in moderation. For vegans, Portobello mushrooms will be a better fit than beef liver. Fatty fish - mackerel, salmon, trout, canned tuna, and sardines - are reliable sources of vitamin D.
Blood tests are the safest way to determine how much vitamin D you and your family members need.