Why You Need D Vitamin D was once seen simply as calcium’s sidekick, helping the body absorb the mineral, and directing calcium’s flow into and out of bones. No more. In addition to boosting bone health, research links vitamin D to a lower risk for asthma, colon and prostate cancers, depression, heart disease, and immune system disorders, like multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D is one of the few nutrients you can make. Strong summer sunshine triggers vitamin D production, which begins in the skin. The body socks away vitamin D for future use, but that’s no reason to bake on the beach. The same UV rays that promote vitamin D production also cause sunburn and skin cancer, so it’s a good idea to fulfill most of your vitamin D quota with food and dietary supplements, year-round. Come late Fall, many men living north of Washington, DC, won’t produce any vitamin D for the next six months.
How Much D is Enough? Six hundred International Units (IU) daily. Fat traps vitamin D, so overweight guys may need even more. Same goes for men with darker skin, because they make less in response to sunlight.
Sources of D Try to satisfy most or all of your vitamin D needs with food, but if you can’t, take supplements to close the gap. Don’t exceed 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily.
- Monterey Mushrooms, 3 ounces = 400 IU
- Salmon, 3 ½ ounces, cooked = 360 IU
- Tuna, light, canned, drained, 3 ounces = 200 IU
- Milk, fortified, all types, 8 ounces = 100 IU
- Orange juice, fortified, 8 ounces = 100 IU
- Yogurt, fortified, 6 to 8 ounces = 80-100 IU
- Eggs, 1 Eggland’s Best = 80 IU
- Cereal, ready-to-eat, fortified, ¾ to 1 cup = 40-60 IU
* Monterey Mushrooms and Eggland’s best are particular brands that contain more vitamin D than generic counterparts. The mushrooms are exposed to UV light.