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:
*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