Now that Phase 2 of the circuit breaker exit is here, some of you may be raring to leave the house to get some sun. Exposure to sunlight gets you the vitamin D that you need, but how does it work?

Broadly speaking, vitamin D helps the body use calcium from the diet, which helps in building strong bones, which is all the better for your exercise journey!

How much Vitamin D do we need?

Here’s how much calcium and vitamin D you need every day, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Calcium

  • Children 1-3 years old: 700 milligrams (mg)
  • Children 4-8 years old: 1,000 mg
  • Children 9-18 years old: 1,300 mg
  • Adults 19-50: 1,000 mg
  • Women 51 to 70: 1,200 mg
  • Men 51 to 70: 1,000 mg
  • Women and men 71 and over: 1,200 mg

Vitamin D

  • Age 1-70: 600 IU
  • Age 71 and older: 800 IU

More isn’t always better – it is possible to overdose on Vitamin D if you pop those supplements like candy!

Who should be more aware of their Vitamin D intake?

  • Limited sun exposure

Your natural source of Vitamin D is diminished if you work the night-shift, are often homebound, live in the northern latitude, or wear full clothing for religious reasons.

There’s a reason why those who sleep in the day have to draw their curtains, some of us even investing in black-out curtains so not even an inch of sunlight invades our room. Our natural body clock dictates that we rise with the sun and turn in when it’s dark out. If you’re a night owl, your body might not synthesise Vitamin D as efficiently.

  • Vegans

Vegans lose many sources of Vitamin D because they neither have meat nor dairy in their diets, which are the primary sources of naturally occurring Vitamin D. Supplements are typically a last resort, vegan or not, so dieticians tend to recommend they up their intake of fortified foods.

  • Those with dark skin

Dark-skinned people have higher levels of melanin, which reduces the body’s ability to create Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

  • Obese

Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells, which lowers the amount absorbed by our body. Those whose body mass index is 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D.

  • Those with a family history of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition of low bone mass/density, which can make one more prone to fractures. This usually occurs in late middle-age to elderly women.

How can we incorporate Vitamin D into our livelihood?

Meat: Fatty fish (mackerel/salmon) – 3oz cooked salmon has more than 450 IU

Dairy products: milk, cheese, egg yolk, yogurt, tofu

Veg: Spinach, kale, soy beans, mushrooms

Supplements: If you’re someplace where sunlight is limited (predominantly rainy climates/winter time), these supplements might actually come in handy to fortify your bones and fend off seasonal depression.

If you wanna try getting more vitamin D in your diet, here are some recipes that you can try!

Snack: Smoked salmon and dill deviled eggs

Salad: Watermelon shrimp salad

Main course: Salmon w spinach / (Vegan) Portobello mushroom burger

Dessert: Yogurt parfait w berries