It’s that time of year when the air turns crisp and the leaves turn golden. But it also means the days are getting shorter with less sunlight — which can leave you lacking in the “sunshine” vitamin, vitamin D.Your body manufactures vitamin D with the help of sunlight. Without enough vitamin D, researchers are showing you’re at increased risk for a host of illnesses including heart disease; high blood pressure; breast, colon and prostate cancers; metabolic syndrome; diabetes; multiple sclerosis; rheumatoid arthritis; osteoporosis and depression. A study in the August 11, 2008, online edition of Archives of Internal Medicine reports that inadequate vitamin D could increase risk of death by 26 percent.
A nationwide survey found that 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women in the United States were not getting enough of this vital nutrient. In fact, rickets, a disease related to vitamin D deficiency that was once nearly eliminated, is actually increasing in North America.
Clearly, vitamin D makes a significant difference in health. Getting enough vitamin D reduces the risk of having your first heart attack by more than 50 percent, reduces the risk of having peripheral vascular disease by as much is 80 percent, and decreases the risk of prostate, colon, breast and a whole host of other cancers by as much as 50 to 70 percent.
In October 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled the recommended amount of vitamin D that children, from newborn to teens, should get because of evidence that it may help prevent serious disease. Now the recommended amount is a minimum of 400 international units (IU) a day, the same amount currently recommended for most adults. The Institute of Medicine, a government advisory group that sets dietary standards, is discussing whether those adult recommendations should be bumped up, too, based on the emerging research. Some experts already advise adults to increase vitamin D intake to 800 to 1,000 IU a day to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes.
Sources of Vitamin D
- Cod liver oil, 1 Tbsp 1,360 IU
- Pacific oysters, 3.5 oz. 640 IU
- Most fish, 3.5 oz. 88 IU
- Vitamin D fortified milk, 1 cup 100 IU
- Tropicana Orange Juice,
- Calcium + vitamin D, 1 cup 100 IU
- Total cereal, 1 ¼ cup 40 IU
- 1 egg, cooked 26 IU
- Beef, 3.5 oz. 7 IU
- Yogurt, 1 cup 4 IU
- Cheddar cheese, 1 oz. 4 IU
A simple way to get a significant amount of vitamin D into your diet in a less “fishy” way is through Reliv nutritional products such as Reliv Classic®, Reliv Now®, Reliv Now® for Kids, and Slimplicity®. For example, one serving of Classic contains 400 IUs of vitamin D, which is the current recommended daily amount for most adults. That’s the equivalent of about 15 eggs or 100 cups of yogurt! Just two shakes a day of Classic will put you in optimum range for fighting illness.