ask the nutritionist: vitamin d

Thank you all for the lovely comments on two years blogging and my learning post.  I can’t wait to share more of what I’m learning with you!

Now onto Vitamin D.  {This post is sponsored by Eggland’s Best.}

It seems to be the newest vitamin on the block, no?

In my opinion, it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. Years ago (5-6) my Mom and I attended a Nutrition conference and I came home with a ton of new information, ideas, concepts, as well as a ground flax + oj morning shot habit and a slew of “bootlegged” Vitamin D Chocolate supplements. At the time, the USDA didn’t feel as though Vitamin D supplementation was really necessary, so the upper levels were very low at 200 IU’s.

Fast forward a few years and Vitamin D is everywhere, they’ve raised the RDA to 600 IU (still really low) and we are starting to realize just how important is. (Is it frustrating to anyone else that Nutrition seems to be constantly changing? It is why I will always focus on real foods and not the latest trend, news, diet, etc.)

Why is Vitamin D important?

  • helps body absorb calcium and phosphorus
  • helps deposit these minerals in bones and teeth
  • helps regulate cell growth
  • plays a role in immunity

How can we get Vitamin D?

  • sun exposure (10-15 minutes in sun, no sunscreen, 3x weekly)
  • dairy milk has been fortified with Vitamin D (100 IU per 8 oz)
  • whole eggs (25 IU per egg, need the yolk!)
  • salmon (up to 988 IU for wild caught salmon – 3.5 oz)
  • sardines (240 IU – 3 oz)
  • supplements

Obviously a combination of all of these is the best way to ensure that you are getting the Vitamin D you need. Salmon is a great source, but chances are you aren’t eating it every day, let alone every week so it is important to include whole eggs, milk (if you do dairy), sun and supplements.

How do you ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D?

I get my Vitamin D a number of ways. Eggs happen to be a favorite food of mine, and definitely what I eat most often. I love salmon, but don’t have it on a weekly basis and because I’m not a huge sardine fan and I don’t drink milk I also take a supplement. Clearly I’m not getting much sunshine, it is still below 30 degrees here in Minnesota! :)


  1. says

    Luckily I live in Florida, because as a vegetarian and someone who just generally prefers egg whites to whole eggs, I’d be pretty much SOL for getting it in other sources! A supplement, of course, could work…but why bother when we have gorgeous sun and beaches to go play at? ;)

  2. says

    I eat at least 1 egg per day, but other than that, there is nothing on that list that I do consistently. I don’t drink milk and I think we have salmon maybe 2x per month at the most? I do take a supplement as well.

    • Emily says

      It is great that you are getting some through food and then also supplementing it. (With your blog name, you should be eating an egg per day!!)

  3. says

    I’ll never forget a stat that my professor told us about vitamin D. She quoted a study that said that if we sat NAKED in the sun for 15 minutes a day we’d absorb all that we need for the day. =)

    One of the few things I remember from grad school, haha.

    • Emily says

      Yes, I’ve heard that too! Paul Stitt (who was a big Vitamin D guy at the conference I mentioned) said that!! Although it’s not quite feasible for most people. :)

  4. says

    I take a women’s formula multi that has 800 IUs of vitamin D, and also an additional 1000 IU supplement. My chiropractor recommended 2000 IUs for immune support, so there I go! I don’t consume many of the food sources, (occasional eggs, but that’s about it,) so supplements it is!

  5. says

    i just had my vitamin d level tested (just because i was curious) and i was well within the “healthy” range at 45!! :) woohoo! and i live in WISCONSIN, the land of no sun, which made me even more proud of my vitamin status!

  6. Elana says

    I am actually extremely Vitamin D deficient. About 6 weeks ago, my doctor put me on a high dose of vitamin d (50,000 IU ); supplements that I take every week. We don’t get much sun around where I live until about, I make sure I drink enough milk and have eggs once a week. I have to say, taking the Vitamin D supplement has definietly leaved me feeling more energetic and put me in better spirits.

    • Emily says

      That is so good to hear that you are feeling better! I should really get mine tested to see where I’m at. I take a pretty big supplement too :)

  7. says

    This is a great post Emily. I completely agree that the RDA may need to be higher for Vitamin D, but love how they have recently increased it. Please explain more about your flaxseed and OJ shot, I’m very interested.

    • Emily says

      Haha, it was just ground flax mixed with a little oj. I just HAD to be sure that I got my flax in every day! :)

  8. says

    I’m with you- it’s so frustrating that the FDA changes their opinion so often- whole foods are the way to go! I’m with you on the lack of sunshine, thing, although I do try to get as much as I can via walks around the block over my lunchbreak (until I feel like I’m freezing).

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