Nutrient of the Week #1
Updated: Mar 6, 2019
The first Nutrient of the Week, Vitamin D! Vitamin D helps to increase the absorption of calcium in the intestinal tract andalso helps your muscles, nerves and immune system work properly. Calcium and vitamin D work together to help you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Recent research has shown that vitamin D may be linked to lowering the risk of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and some cancers. So many benefits in this power house of a vitamin!
The richest dietary source of vitamin D is oily fish, while mushrooms are the best plant source. It can also be found in fortified dairy and plant-based milks, so check your dairy product labels to see if this key nutrient is added! It is a fat-soluble vitamin, so this is an example of why fat is important in the diet.
Below is a vitamin D rich meal that contains both an animal source (salmon, an oily fish) and also a plant source (spinach, a dark leafy green)
-Balsamic Salmon: Preheat oven to 3500F and line a baking sheet with tin foil and olive oil. Cut salmon fillet (wild salmon is best) into portions (about 1 and a half of the size of your palm) and lay on pan. Top each fillet with a mound of the “wet salad” and bake for 20 minutes or until the meat begins to flake.
-Wet Salad: 4 handfuls of chopped baby spinach, minced garlic (1 clove), 1.5 tablespoons olive oil, 1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomato, 1/3 cup crumbled feta, and ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
Research has also shown vitamin D to be beneficial in reducing depression, and with these winter blues we could all use an extra dose! Some of the receptors in the brain are receptors for vitamin D, which means that vitamin D is acting in some way in the brain. These receptors are found in the areas of the brain that are linked to the development of depression. For this reason, vitamin D has been linked with depression and with other mental health problems.
We can make our own vitamin D from sun exposure, but we live in Canada so this is not possible for the winter months. During these months a D3 (Cholecalciferol) supplement may be needed at a dose of 1,000 IU (equivalent to 25mcg). Be sure to take this supplement with food to get the full absorption effects with fat! During the summer months it is thought that if you have fair skin, it takes about 10 minutes of sun exposure at around noon to manufacture enough vitamin D in the body.
Feeling confused about the different supplement options out there? Just remember to choose a bottle that is the form “D3” or “Cholecalciferol” in a dose of 1,000 IU or 25mcg.
Vitamin D is measured using two different units, International Units (IU) and Micrograms (mcg, or μg), but is most commonly used as IU on the front of vitamin bottles. 1,000 IU is the dose needed to help the majority of the population to reach the proper blood levels of vitamin D!
According to recent research, Vitamin D3 is approximately 85% better in raising and maintaining Vitamin D concentrations in the body and produces 200-300% greater storage of Vitamin D than Vitamin D2. With either form your body must convert it into a more active form, and Vitamin D3 is converted 500% faster than Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 has a shorter shelf life and it binds poorly with proteins in your blood, which further hinders its effectiveness. So D3 is the best option!
~Stay tuned for the next Nutrient of the Week~