Are we getting enough Vitamin D?

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Lack of vitamin D can cause a whole host of problems in anyone.

Without vitamin D, our bodies may lose bone tissue, leading to bone pain, muscle weakness and possible skeletal deformity, heart failure, mood changes, weight gain, stomach problems and fatigue. Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient that the body needs to function properly, and insufficiencies may trigger severe health problems. Older adults who get little sunlight should make a lifestyle change if they want to preserve their health, maintain strong bones and have a healthy digestive tract.

What can cause this?

We’re not consuming the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if we follow a strict vegan diet, because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk, and beef liver. Also, if our exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if we are home-bound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.

How can we fix this?

Sun exposure, supplements and certain fortified foods are the main sources of vitamin D. Because of the link between sun exposure and skin cancer, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that adults rely on food and supplements to get the right amount of vitamin D each day.

Foods that have good vitamin D profiles include:
Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
Beef liver
Egg yolks

I’ll skip the beef liver!