Vitamin D


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:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Weakness
    • Constipation
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Disorientation
    • 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:

 

 Food

 Serving Size

 IU per serving

 Cod Liver Oil

1 tablespoon 

1,360 IU 

 Salmon (cooked)

 3 1/2 ounces

 360 IU

 Mackerel (cooked)

 3 1/2 ounces

 345 IU

 Sardines (canned, in oil, drained)

3 1/2 ounces 

 370 IU

 Milk (Vitamin D fortified)

1 cup 

 98 IU

 Margarine (Vitamin D fortified)

 1 tablespoon 

 60 IU

 Pudding (made with fortified milk)

1/2 cup

 50 IU

 Dry Cereal (Vitamin D fortified)

 3/4 cup

 40-50 IU

 Beef Liver (cooked)

3 1/2 ounces 

 30 IU

 Egg

 1 whole

 25 IU

Location & Directions

Women's Health
Center of Southern
Oregon, PC
1075 SW Grandview Ave., Suite 200
Grants Pass, Oregon
97527
P: 541-479-8363
Fax:541-476-2841

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