Vitamin D, in depth

by Leika Suzumura, R.D., former PCC Nutrition Educator

This article was originally published in January 2011

Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our body makes it from exposure to the sun. Traditionally, it’s been recognized for its relationship with calcium to support bone health. Recent studies, however, demonstrate vitamin D’s relevance to health issues including diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and even autoimmune diseases. Doctors are finding that many people are deficient in vitamin D, especially in colder, less sunny climates.

So how do we get the sunshine vitamin in the middle of winter here in the Northwest? In addition to the foods listed below, cod liver oil and fortified foods like cow’s milk, some orange juices and cereals, or a supplement can be added to the diet for a boost. And, don’t forget to soak in the rays of the sun when it’s out!

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