A recent New York Times article raised the question of whether or not there is truly a need for the ever-increasing abundance of Vitamin D testing/supplementation of the last 20 years. Should everyone be tested and put on a Vitamin D supplement? How does the individual’s underlying risk of deficiency factor into the consideration?
Photo sourced from the New York Times, taken by Craig Frazier
The best source of vitamins and minerals is found naturally in the foods we are eating. Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon, plus egg yolks and many mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light are the best ways to get your Vitamin D.
Unfortunately, food sources of Vitamin D are limited and can sometimes pose a challenge for individuals to meet their needs through food alone. Sun exposure of up to 15 minutes at a time to allow for the body to properly produce Vitamin D is another way to ensure adequate levels in the body; however that is difficult for some people to achieve as well.
With that said, some individuals need to be properly supplemented. I encourage supplementation for those with difficulty absorbing fat, obese individuals, those who have previously had Gastric Bypass surgery, those with a need for limited sun exposure, and older adults. However, just because some individuals are in need of supplementation, that should not require all individuals to follow suit.
I thrive on educating people on the importance of a healthy diet, exercise and overall lifestyle changes that can help with medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, or helping to treat depression, in conjunction with appropriate vitamin/mineral supplementation as needed.
Supplementation should be considered as part of a holistic approach to health and lifestyle and not as a sole solution. Research is still evolving with Vitamin D and there’s more to come on the benefits of what it can do and its limitations as well.