Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in many developed countries. It is estimated that in the US, nearly 50 percent of residents are deficient in vitamin D. Extreme levels of deficiency can lead to bone related diseases such as rickets in children and hip fractures and osteoporosis in adults. Common symptoms of minor levels of deficiency are fatigue, depression and various other hormonal issues.
Vitamin D deficiency is as common as it is for several reasons. The first is that were not getting as much sun as we used to. In developed countries, many of us now lead sedentary lives and spend most of our afternoons in indoor work environments. Because sunlight is the primary means through which we get vitamin D, deficiency has become increasingly common as a result.
The second problem is were not getting enough vitamin D from our food. Only a relatively small number of foods contain vitamin D, so its actually quite easy to become deficient if youre not getting regular portions of these food groups. Below are some of the best food sources of vitamin D.
Food Sources of Vitamin D
Fish and Fish Oils
Fatty fish and various types of fish oils are some of the best sources of vitamin D. Salmon and Mackerel are especially good sources. The best natural source of vitamin D, however, is cod liver oil, which contains almost 1,500 IU of vitamin D per serving.
Milk, Cheese, Butter and Other Dairy
Cheese, butter and raw milk especially are great sources of vitamin D. Conventional milk loses much of its vitamin D content through the pasteurization process, but many milk products are now fortified with vitamin D3, so they can be good sources as well.
Because vitamin D deficiency is now so common, more and more foods are beginning to be fortified with vitamin D. If you choose to eat fortified foods, look for those with vitamin D3 rather than D2, as D2 is a form not generally used by mammals.