vitminDIf there were a beauty contest for nutrients, vitamin D would easily win "Miss Popularity".  Why?  One reason is the recent discovery that vitamin D does a lot more than help you build strong bones. Another reason is that many people are not getting enough vitamin D to keep their blood levels in the healthy range. Add to that new research that shows that vitamin D can make your muscles stronger, lower the risk of some cancers and diabetes, and lower blood pressure and vitamin D seems to deserve all the attention and praise it's been getting. Many researchers now advise people to get more than twice the present guideline for vitamin D. In fact, most adults should get at least 1000 international units (IU's) of vitamin D each day to keep your blood levels healthy. That's more than twice the old level of 400 IU's. If your blood levels are low, you will need more - at least 2000 IU's a day and possibly a prescription high dose for several months to boost your levels up to normal. 



Here's what you need to know about Vitamin D
:

  • Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption and bone health
  • Vitamin D is measured in International Units (IU's)
  • Vitamin D may also:
  • lower the risk of some cancers
  • improve muscle strength
  • lower the risk of falling which lowers the risk of breaking a bone
  • possibly boosts immunity
  • possibly improve your energy levels
  • Experts recommend 1000 IU's of Vitamin D from supplements a day
  • Food sources do not provide enough
  • The skin can make vitamin D from the sun but sunscreen, darker skin, and aging skin all lower the amount of vitamin D the body can make from the sun
  • You don't have to worry about timing when you take vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so as long as you are getting enough in general, it will be there to help you absorb your calcium and do its job.

As you can see from the chart below, it would hard to get your daily dose of 1000 IU's of vitamin D from foods:

Food or Beverage

 Serving Size

IU's of
Vitamin D

Vitamin D fortified Milk     

1 cup

100

Vitamin D fortified Orange Juice    

1 cup

100

Baked Herring

3 ounces

1,775

Baked salmon

3 ounces

238

Canned Tuna

3 ounces

136

Sardines

1 ounce

77

Raisin Bran Cereal

¾ cup

42

Pork Sausage

1 ounce

31

Egg Yolk

1

25





















Source:
USDA 2002 (with the exception of fortified orange juice)

Look at all of your dietary supplements and check the vitamin D level. You may be hitting the 1000 IU mark from the supplements you already take. Most multivitamin/mineral supplements have at least 400 IU's of vitamin D, sometimes more. If you take a calcium supplement that has vitamin D in it, add that in as well. If you're not getting what you need, then you can add on a separate vitamin D tablet. Use this chart to help you shop for a vitamin D supplement if you need one.

Vitamin D Supplement Shopping Guide
 

 Brand Name
Vitamin D

 Serving Size

IU's of Vitamin D per tablet

# of tablets per bottle

Cost per bottle

Walgreen's Finest Natural

1 tab

400 IU's

125

$3.99

Walgreen's Finest Natural

1 tab

1000 IU's

100

$8.99

Walgreen's Finest Natural

1 tab

2000 IU's

75

$6.99

Nature Made

1 tab

400 IU's

90

$4.19

Nature Made

1 tab

1000 IU's

100

$9.99

Nature Made

1 tab

2000 IU's

90

$10.99

CVS Vit D

1 tab

400 IU's

120

$2.99

CVS Vit D

1 tab

1000 IU's

100

$5.49

Wal-Mart Spring Valley

1 tab

400 IU's

200

$3.48

Wal-Mart Spring Valley

1 tab

1000 IU's

100

$5.48

Wal-Mart Spring Valley

1 tab

2000 IU's

200

$8.32

Publix Sundown

1 tab

400 IU's

100

$2.79

Publix Sundown

1 tab

1000 IU's

100

$4.99

Rite Aid Nature's Bounty

1 tab

400 IU's

100

$4.49

Rite Aid Nature's Bounty

1 tab

1000 IU's

120

$6.99