Vitamin D: Take it or Break it

Vitamin D is a hot topic in the health community right now.  It is an essential nutrient and unfortunately many of us are not getting enough of it. According to a Susan Male-Smith, a dietician, freelance nutrition and health writer, 97% of African-Americans need more vitamin D in their diet.

Vitamin D deficiencies can cause major health problems including high rates of cancer, increased risk of heart disease, more colds and flus,  increased risk of diabetes, and the most common health problem – weak bones.

So where can you get it? The easiest and most effective way to increase your intake of Vitamin D is by taking a daily supplement. Any over the counter vitamin containing 200 IU (5cmg) is great for women 19 and older. That is the daily recommended amount. Women over 50 should look for supplements containing 400 IU of vitamin D.

One-A-Day, Centrum, Raw One, GNC brand, even Target brand vitamins are great options. Personally I prefer the Target Gummy Vitamins ( tasty, chewy morsels containing 800 UI of vitamin D- Ooo)

If you’re not into pills you can eat food containing vitamin D. Surprisingly, not that many foods contain it.  Fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel contain substantial amounts. Fish oil, beef liver, egg yolks, cheese, mushrooms, and milk also contain large amounts of it.

This underrated vitamin is crucial for the absorption of calcium ( side note: wonder if there’s any correlation between vitamin D deficiency in African-Americans and lactose intolerance),  it protects skin against radiation, it’s a immune system regulator and helps maintain healthy bones. Vitamin D can do wonders to keep your body going stronger for longer, so take it or break it! It’s up to you.