Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium. It’s an extremely important vitamin no matter what your diet is. And unlike most vitamins, every single cell in your body has a receptor for Vitamin D. It, along with Calcium, helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth. It also helps your muscles, nervous system and immune system to function properly. Clearly, you need this critical vitamin.
How to Get Vitamin D:
1. Through the absorption of the sun through your bare skin
If you live close to the equator you could potentially get enough Vitamin D by going out into the sun for 30-60 minutes, 3+ times a week with no sunscreen. You would need to be fair skin, as the darker your skin the longer it takes for it to absorb the Vitamin D from the sun. So although sun is a great way to get some Vitamin D, for a lot of us it can’t be the only way.
2. Eat Foods high in Vitamin D
Liver, fatty fish, fortified milk, fortified nut milk products, egg yolks and cod oil are all foods rich in Vitamin D. Even if you eat foods high in Vitamin D every single day, your body is likely to only absorb roughly 10% of your daily required Vitamin D. And for a vegan diet, a lot of these options are off the table.
3. Vitamin D supplements
Last but no least, there are supplements which are the easiest way to safely get the right, and consistent, amount of the vitamin. It’s important to find a high quality Vitamin D supplement since many cheaper ones can be less effective, so research is important.
The absorption of Vitamin D in our day to day lives is difficult and there are factors that can further reduce your body’s ability to absorb it. Wondering what could make it harder?
- Darker skin – those with fair skin absorb this vitamin directly from the sun more easily (but you’ll be burnt to a crisp long before your body absorbs the D)
- Age – as we age our bodies ability to absorb Vitamin D decreases
- Vegans – if you don’t eat fish or dairy you’ll have a harder time consuming Vitamin D in your diet
- Living far from the equator – hello, we live in Canada!
- Sunscreen – Crucial to protecting your skin, but not so great at helping you absorb vitamin D!
- Reduced exposure to sunlight – hello, we live in Canada! It’s cold and dark half of the year
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Being deficient in vitamin D looks very similar to many other deficiencies. That’s why it’s important to eat a well balanced diet and meet with your Doctor or Naturopath on a regular basis to monitor your health.
Common symptoms include:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Frequently sick and taking along time to recover
- Pain in your joints and bones
- Wounds that take a long period of time to heal
- Hair loss
- Brittle nails
We get our Vitamin D through supplements and have seen huge benefits!
Currently, other than Vitamin B12, this is the only supplement that we both take. Vitamin D comes in many forms, but for fast absorption we use an oil-based drop.
Not all Vitamin D is vegan (a lot of supplements aren’t) so it’s important check. We currently take and love the GNA Vitamin D3 Emulsified drops which are sunflower oil-based (not a sponsor). One drop is 1,000 IU. We take 4 drops, in the winter, and only 1-2 drops in the summer. It varies for everyone so you will have to find the balance that’s right for you.
Getting More from Your Vitamins
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. What does this mean? Great question! A fat soluble vitamin is harder for your body to eliminate. Water soluble ones can deplete as you go to the washroom. This means if you take too much your body will start to build a reserve. In rare cases this can lead to a Vitamin D overdose, so it’s always recommended you speak with a Healthcare professional to determine you are taking the correct vitamins at the right dosage.
In addition to strong bones, a healthy nervous system and well functioning muscles and immune system, we have seen amazing results in our hair and nails. Prior to taking Vitamin D regularly, weak and brittle nails were part of day to day life, but that is the thing of the past! Thicker and stronger nails were one of the first benefits we noticed when taking the correct recommended dose of Vitamin D every single day.
We are not healthcare professionals and are not here to prescribe vitamins or their associated recommended dosage. We are writing this post to make people aware that Vitamin D is an important part of a well varied diet and lifestyle. We strongly believe that everyone should speak with a Healthcare professional prior to taking vitamins to ensure they are doing what is best for their body – everyone is unique as is their body and this is what makes us all so special! We would love to hear what your healthcare professionals are saying about Vitamin D in the comments below!
Enjoy the sun safely and get enough of that Vitamin D!