Thursday, January 29, 2009

Question Everything

After reading my blog on vitamin D, I was asked some excellent questions.

One friend asked "Just tell me how I can get 1,000 IU a day from my diet ? This question was followed by, oh and by the way, I am NOT getting my blood taken!"
"Its really difficult to get 1,000 IU from diet alone. Most brands of multivitamins contain 400 IU and so I recommend you take a multivitamin. With respect to food sources, the richest source of vitamin D comes from fish. For example, a portion of cooked salmon (3.5 ounces) contains 360 IU, canned tuna in oil (200 IU), or cooked shrimp (140 IU). Other sources include dairy products, such as a cup of milk (100 IU) or a yogurt (80 IU) . You can also get vitamin D from orange juice that is fortified with calcium + vitamin D (100 IU), or from Viactiv calcium soft hews (1 chew = 100 IU), or fortified breakfast cereals (40 IU). And with respect to the blood sample, keep traveling to sunny places and you should be fine ! No need for a blood sample my brave friend"
Another question raised was "Hold on, the label on my multivitamin says I am getting 100% of my daily value (DV) for vitamin D, so this is good, right ?".
"Ok, I can see your confusion. The recommended adequate Intake (AI) for vitamin D is 400 IU. This is the level stated in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and is the level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy. Most dietary supplements contain 400 IU of vitamin D and so it states 100% vitamin D in one supplement. However, most experts believe this is set way too low and the recommendation (by experts in the field) therefore is to increase your intake to 1,000 IU/day"
Another friend asked "You mention that there are two forms of vitamin D, do both forms, D2 and D3, naturally occur in foods ?".
"This is a good question and let me clarify this for you. The vitamin D found in most foods, and in some dietary supplements, is in the form of D3 (but you should check the supplement label). D3 is usually derived from animal sources. Fortified soy milks (e.g. Silk Soymilk) and other soy based drinks contain the less active form of vitamin D, D2. Vitamin D2 is usually derived from yeast."

To my friend who loves ice cream - "sorry to tell you this but ice cream is not a source of vitamin D!"

Please keep asking questions, you can e-mail me at


  1. Hi,

    Fascinating stuff. SO important and helpful.

    I know you don't endorse any one products but could you recommend a good multivitamin (which would have the proper amt of D3) for both adults (men and/or women) and children?



  2. You are right - I don't endorse any one product but I suggest looking either for a vitamin D supplement (should have D3 on label), a vitamin D and calcium supplement (if you think dietary intake of calcium is low) or a multivitamin that contains 400 IU of Vit D3.

    If you get the vitamin D supplement for adults, you can always 1/2 the tablet, crush it up and disguise it a teaspoon of ketchup (this is specific to this particular individual!). Best option is to get the multivitamin chewy gummy bears.

  3. Hi Nic,

    That's quite interesting stuff on your blog... My child is suffering from Bronchitis and after some reading it shows that Vitamin A,C,E deficiency makes a child more prone to allergic cough and bronchitis... We are fully 100% vegetarian's and don't take anything which grows under the earth like potatos/onions... Can you suggest some veg/fruits/oils which can help my child to improve his immune system...

    Chetan Jain.

  4. Hi Chetan,
    I am sorry to hear your son has bronchitis. I'm not familiar with the link between these deficiencies and allergies/bronchitis (only because I'm not up to speed on the literature). This may require a longer correspondence, particularly since I'm not familiar with the foods that are available to you, but let me give you a few suggestions.
    These food sources will help provide antioxidants and hopefully help his overall nutritional status. Good sources of vitamin C include orange juice and other citrus fruits (lemon/limes), green and red peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes. If you can get your son to eat cantaloupe, peaches and apricots - these are rich in many antioxidants (vitamin C & b-carotene). Vitamin E - sunflower and safflower oil is one source and peanut butter (provided your son does not have an allergy to nuts). Wheat germ is also an excellent concentrated source of vitamin E. Email me at if you have any more questions !