The Best Sources of Vitamin D For Your Family

Because supplements are the latest items in panic-buying.

Also known as the 'sunshine vitamin,' vitamin D is produced by your body when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is particularly important for bone health (helps absorb calcium) and for immune system function. Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and making you feel happier.

The fact that we've been cooped up for the last couple of months, and with the lack of sunshine due to a late blooming spring, may cause vitamin D deficiencies. And, vitamin D supplements are the latest item that people are panic-buying, so you may not find it on the shelves of your grocery store or pharmacy.

There are 5 ways to get Vitamin D:

1. Sun Exposure

As little as 15 minutes a day of sun exposure helps the body produce its own vitamin D, however do so safely and wear sunscreen. Contrary to popular belief, using sunscreen and other forms of sun protection does not lead to vitamin D deficiency according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Unprotected sun exposure however, can lead to other serious problems.

2. Eat Fatty Fish

Salmon is a popular fatty fish and great source of vitamin D. Herring, sardines and cod liver oil are other options though these might not be kid-approved. Canned tuna also provides vitamin D.

3. Fortified Foods

In Canada, cow's milk and margarine must be fortified with vitamin D so these foods are another good source, along with other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. Orange juice, soy and almond milk, and cereals are also fortified.

4. Other Foods

Other food sources that provide Vitamin D, in addition to fatty fish are:

▪ Egg yolks
▪ Mushrooms
▪ Beef liver
▪ Shrimp

This chart produced by the US Dept of Health provides a list of foods, ranked by vitamin D levels.

5. Supplements

A vitamin D supplement will help if you feel you are not getting your daily levels through your food intake. However, since the pandemic hit, vitamin D has been flying off the store shelves so it may be difficult to find.

Here are the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to the Health Canada Page:

Infants (0 to 12 months) - 400 IU (10 mcg)
Children and adults (1 to 70 years) - 600 IU (15 mcg)
Adults over 70 years - 800 IU (20 mcg)

Overall, healthy eating habits, a balanced diet, and a little sun, can provide you with this much needed vitamin.

1) Medical News Today
2) Health Canada
3) WebMD
4) Health Line

Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice — only guidelines. Check with your doctor or pediatrician for any health-related questions, and before taking any new supplements.

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