You would think in today’s world, a dietitian would never be subject to a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Well, I hate to break it to you but in 2014, it happened. This very principle was proven wrong during my last physical a few short weeks ago. The appointment was filled with highlights: a breast exam, peeing into a Dixie cup and my doctor curb siding me on an irritable bowel syndrome diet. Perhaps the greatest (and by that I mean worst) was when she read my vitamin D levels to me. As I redressed on the other side of a curtain, she informed me my lab work came back great, except for one thing. I beat her to the punch with, ‘Let me guess, I’m vitamin D deficient’. Her response, ‘good guess’. I ain’t no dummy. Damn my New England exposed skin.
Not getting enough sunshine? Below are a few foods high in vitamin D
Mushrooms (exposed to sunlight, such as shiitake)
Cod liver oil
Cheese (such as ricotta)
*Fortified sources include milk, yogurt, orange juice and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.
If you’re looking to supplement 1,000-2,000 International Units should do it. Check with your doctor before supplementing.
Looking for sunlight exposure as a solution? The time spent out in the sun really depends on where you are in relation to the equator. Generally speaking, you need un-SPF-protected skin exposed for 10-15 minutes per day; face and arms should do it. Be sure to check your body or face lotion though, they often come with built in SPF – great for sun protection, not so great for vitamin D production.