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Video: Stay healthy with vitamin D

By
TODAY contributor
updated 9/27/2007 12:16:30 PM ET 2007-09-27T16:16:30

Over the past few years, research has shown that getting enough vitamin D can reduce the risk of several medical conditions, including osteoporosis, gum disease, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and YES, even certain cancers.

Now, vitamin D appears to be associated with a lower risk of death, according to a meta-analysis of 18 previously published studies in the September 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Here are three things you can do to ensure you’re getting enough.

1. Incorporate vitamin D-rich food  

  • Wild salmon   3 oz = 420 IU            
  • Atlantic mackerel    3 oz = 320 IU
  • Sardines 1 can = 250 IU
  • Shrimp  3 oz = 150 IU
  • Skim and 1% low-fat milk  1 cup = 100 IU
  • Shittake mushrooms  4 items = 260 IU
  • Fortified yogurts like Dannon Light & Fit  1 cup = 80 IU           
  • Fortified cereals:Multigrain Cheerios 1 cup = 40 IU; Post Bran Flakes 1 cup = 40 IU; Kashi Vive 1¼ cup = 80 IU                                                                            

2. Supplement daily with vitamin D
Because food sources are limited, it’s a good idea to consider supplements. As always, check with your personal physician before taking anything new.

Take a multivitamin which provides at least the Daily Value, 400 IU.

For women taking extra calcium, buy a brand that also provides vitamin D — optimally, D3 (cholcalciferol), the most potent form.

Two good brands are:

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*Citracal Plus D and Minerals

*Caltrate 600-D Plus Minerals.

For men who would like to take additional vitamin D, look for a supplement that provides 400-1000 IUs of D3, also called cholcalciferol.

*NOTE: Men should not take supplemental calcium (some research suggests excessive calcium may increase the risk for prostate concerns).

3. Enjoy “a little” safe sun – 15 minutes on your hands, a few times each week.
Our bodies produce their own vitamin D through exposure to the sunlight — and fortunately, all you need is about 15 minutes on your hands, a few times each week. 

That’s good news, considering that too much sun can damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. Remember to ALWAYS apply sunscreen year-round (even during the winter months).

Joy Bauer is the author of “Food Cures.”  For more information on healthy eating, check out Joy’s Web site at www.joybauernutrition.com

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