Vitamin D is essential forcalcium absorption. It also protects against heart disease and cancer, andrecent research has found that it influences or interacts with more than 200genes, including those associated with autoimmune diseases.
How much:Vitamin D do you need? 5 micrograms (mcg) per day, increasing to10mcg after you’ve turned 51 and 15mcg after 70.
Where can we get Vitamin D from naturally? 100g tinned sardines + 1 cup fortified milk + 3eggs = 10mcg of vitamin D. But, apart from the fact that very few foods arerich in vitamin D, the best source is the sun – experts agree that it’s almostimpossible to get enough vitamin D from diet alone.
Consider a supplement if you’re a shift worker, cover yourskin for cultural reasons or don’t go outdoors often.
Need to know facts about Vitamin D
- Studies show that in winter and spring, 40 percent of Australian women don’t receive enough vitamin D.
- Just a few minutes of sun exposure each day tothe face, arms and hands during summer, 15 to 20 minutes in spring and autumn,and 30 minutes in winter, outside peak UV times (10am to 2pm or 11am to 3pm daylightsavings time), provides most people with enough vitamin D. Always use sunprotection when the UV index is three or above.
- “Research shows how the body’s ability tomanufacture vitamin D from sun exposure decreases with age,” says naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist from Sydney’s Nature Care CollegeMichelle Avedissian.
- Glass blocks most of the sun’s UV8 rays, whichare required for the production of vitamin D.
- Take supplements with food to assist absorption,and avoid taking cholesterol-lowering or antacid medications at the same time –cholesterol tablets can inhibit how much vitamin D is absorbed, and vitamin Dcan increase how much aluminium is absorbed from antacid medication.