What is Vitamin D and why is it important?
- Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in certain foods. It can also be made by our bodies after exposure to sunlight.
- Vitamin D helps your body maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorous in your blood.
- Together, Vitamin D and calcium are essential for strong, healthy bones. They can help prevent osteoporosis.
Am I at risk for low Vitamin D levels?
- Everyone can benefit from a little more Vitamin D, but certain people may be at risk for low levels. Consider additional Vitamin D supplementation if you:
- are over 50 years old
- have been diagnosed with low bone density
- get very little sun exposure
- have kidney disease or another disease that affects absorption of minerals
- are lactose intolerant
- are vegan
- have darker skin
How much Vitamin D do I need?
- Current guidelines suggest that women get 1,000 IU (international units) of Vitamin D3 each day.
- Sometimes, higher doses of Vitamin D may be recommended.
- Unless specifically instructed by your healthcare provider, you should not take more than 2,000 IU per day.
Is there anything I should consider before starting Vitamin D?
- Vitamin D can interact with some medications (such as drugs for high blood pressure and heart problems). If you take daily medications, check with your doctor before starting Vitamin D supplements.
- Taken at normal doses, Vitamin D has very few side effects.
- Signs of a possible overdose of Vitamin D include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Kidney or heart problems
Where can I get Vitamin D?
- The best way to get Vitamin D is through sunlight. Just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) a couple times a week is usually enough to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D. But we live in Oregon, so…
- Vitamin D can also be found as a vitamin supplement. You can find Vitamin D tablets or capsules at most drug stores. Oral Vitamin D pills are sold in two forms: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 seems to have a stronger effect, so try to find this form.
- There are a few foods that contain Vitamin D naturally and some others that have had Vitamin D added to them (like fortified milk or cereals). The list below can give you a good idea where to get Vitamin D in your food:
IU per serving
Cod Liver Oil
3 1/2 ounces
3 1/2 ounces
Sardines (canned, in oil, drained)
3 1/2 ounces
Milk (Vitamin D fortified)
Margarine (Vitamin D fortified)
Pudding (made with fortified milk)
Dry Cereal (Vitamin D fortified)
Beef Liver (cooked)
3 1/2 ounces
KEEPING HOLIDAY STRESS TO A MINUMUM; JUST SAY NO!
For many of us, the holidays were magical in childhood, but now high expectations can bring on too much stress. Sometimes inherited traditions or baking from scratch just doesn’t fit into your busy life. The secret to holiday stress is learning to say no.
1. Say No to Parties That You Don't Want to Attend
If all you want to do is rent a movie and stay home, you don’t owe anyone a long explanation. All you need to do is thank them and say you are sorry but already have plans and can’t attend.
2. Say No to Out-of-Control Gift-Giving
Nothing kills the holiday spirit like having to run around and buy gifts you don't have time to shop for, can't afford, and that nobody really needs anyway. Consider making donations to charitable organizations to honor family or friends. Hardly anyone needs more stuff. Involve your kids in picking the charities to donate to.
3. Say No to Unwanted Houseguests
There’s no rule that says you have to give up your room for your family coming into town. Offer to book a hotel room for them; help pay if it is appropriate. You’ll still be spending the same amount of time together, but won’t have to tip toe around Uncle Joe sleeping on the couch.
4. Say No to Doing All Work for Holiday Dinner
Do you cook the turkey, the ham, the pies, mash the potatoes, set the table, and make sure everyone else is happy Why? Don’t shoulder the entire burden. Enlist family members to help; and that means cleaning up too.
The holidays are about family and friends and reflecting on the good things in your life. Take the time to enjoy!