by Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
Fall has arrived, and “shorter” days with less sunlight may result in low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is best known for building strong bones and teeth, but it’s also being studied for its potential role in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, and certain cancers, including breast cancer.
Vitamin D Deficiency Factors
Your diet. The Daily Value for vitamin D is 400 International Units (IU), yet few foods supply significant amounts. Salmon, mackerel, and tuna are excellent vitamin D sources, but I rely on everyday foods such as fortified milk and Eggland’s Best eggs. One Eggland’s Best egg supplies 120 IU of vitamin D – so when you eat two, you get 60% of your daily vitamin D! Plus, Eggland’s Best eggs supply 10 times the vitamin E, triple the vitamin B12 and twice the omega-3 fats of ordinary eggs, all for about 70 calories.
Your body weight. Extra body fat traps vitamin D, making it unavailable for supporting bone health and for its other roles. The more you weigh above what’s considered a healthy weight (a Body Mass Index of 18.9 to 24.9), the harder it is to maintain beneficial levels of vitamin D in your blood.
Where you live. Most people satisfy at least some of their vitamin D needs with sunlight, and the body stores vitamin D from summer sun exposure. However, the farther from the equator you live, the less vitamin D you make during the year. In the absence of enough vitamin D from food, you can easily become deficient by late winter.
Your age. As you get older, your capacity for producing vitamin D declines. Older people who stay indoors during the summer months compound their potential vitamin D deficiency.
The Ultimate Vitamin D Food Pairing
Eggland’s Best Eggs and Mushrooms
Mushrooms with Eggland’s Best eggs are one of my favorite pairings because mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle. In fact, one serving (about 4-5 white button or crimini mushrooms, or one portabella) of light-exposed mushrooms can provide close to 400 IU of vitamin D.
My family loves when I combine Eggland’s Best eggs with sautéed mushrooms in omelets.
Mezza T, et al. Vitamin D Deficiency: A New Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes. Ann Nutr Metab2012;61:337-348. http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/342771
Vimaleswaran, K, et al. Causal Relationship between Obesity and Vitamin D Status: Bi-Directional Mendelian Randomization Analysis of Multiple Cohorts. PLOS 2013. http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001383
National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional
Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010
Cranney C, et al. Effectiveness and safety of vitamin D. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 158 prepared by the University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-02.0021. AHRQ Publication No. 07-E013. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2007.