What You Need to Know About Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important nutrient needed to maintain bone strength. This special vitamin also helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus into the body. Vitamin D also supports muscle function and allows the brain and body to communicate with one another. There are various ways to receive vitamin D.
The first way is naturally from the sun. The skin is able to convert vitamin D to its active form to be used in the body. There are different recommendations, based on skin-tone, for sun exposure (not in cloudy or winter months).
- Light skinned: 10-15 minutes
- Dark-skinned: 20 minutes
- Elderly: 30 minutes
The second way to receive vitamin D is from food. Those following a plant-based diet should look for foods fortified with vitamin D such as fortified orange juice, cereals and plant-based milks.
To ensure adequate vitamin D intake when following a plant-based diet, especially in the winter months when there is less time outside, a supplement is recommended. Available supplements include vitamins D3 and D2. D3 may come from animal sources (sheep's wool) or lichen (plant-based) while D2 is always plant-derived. When looking for a vitamin D supplement, check the ingredient label to make sure the source is vegan.
Before supplementing with vitamin D levels ask your doctor to check your serum vitamin D levels to determine which supplemental dose is right for you.
- Kohn, Jill. "What Is Vitamin D?" Www.eatright.org. N.p., May 2016. Web. 14 July 2017.
- Norris, Jack. "Calcium and Vitamin D." Calcium and Vitamin D. N.p., Oct. 2013. Web. 14 July 2017.
- "Vegetarian Vitamin D Food Sources." Oldways. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 July 2017.
Jamie Pepper is a recent graduate from Georgia State University where she received her Masters in Health Science, and completed a Coordinated Program in Nutrition. She has a passion for sports nutrition and wishes to one day work with Olympic athletes. In her free time she enjoys finding different running routes as well as finding new and unique cuisines to try!