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The Scoop on Vitamin D

Posted by Ryan Whitcomb, RD, CDN
Ryan Whitcomb, RD, CDN
Ryan Whitcomb, RD, CDN is part of the Whitsons team of nutritionists, where he serves as a Registered Dietitia...
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on Monday, 26 January 2015 in Health & Nutrition

vitamindNow that winter is here (got snow?), let’s talk about something very important, something you probably aren’t very familiar with—your vitamin D status.

 

You may know vitamin D as the sunshine vitamin, but that’s only half of the story. Though our bodies can synthesize vitamin D from the sun’s UVB rays, these rays are only available to us in the northern part of the country from March to October. This means that outside of those months, we have to get our vitamin D from other sources, such as foods and supplements, to prevent a deficiency.

 

Though prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays is well known to increase the risk of skin cancer, we needn’t run from the sun. In fact, even fair people require some time outside without sunblock. Fairer complexions should aim for 5 minutes while those with darker complexions should shoot for no more than 15 minutes in the sun, two to three times per week during the summer months.

 

Vitamin D is very important because it works synergistically with calcium and is necessary for strong, healthy bones. Without daily sufficient intake of vitamin D, our bodies cannot absorb calcium, no matter how much we ingest, which puts our bones at risk of osteomalacia (adult rickets) and osteoporosis: two conditions that are very painful and progress slowly.    

 

Very few foods contain vitamin D, which makes it necessary to supplement. Food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks and fatty fish, as well as fortified milks, cereals and orange juices. So make sure to get your sunshine vitamin even when stuck inside during a winter storm!

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Ryan Whitcomb, RD, CDN is part of the Whitsons team of nutritionists, where he serves as a Registered Dietitian. Ryan works extensively with the Nutrition and Purchasing Departments, analyzing nutritional content of products and ensuring company-wide compliance with all USDA school food standards. In addition to advising on the new Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) regulations set forth for school, Ryan’s role continues to expand as new projects and nutritional guidelines are implemented.

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