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The Miracle of Vitamin D – Vitamin D From Foods

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Krispin Sullivan, CN is a researcher, clinical nutritionist and author of Naked at Noon: The Importance of Sunlight and Vitamin D. In this extensive article, Krispin looks at the health benefits of vitamin D and how it is used in the body.

Part 3 of The Miracle of Vitamin D presents how the body uses vitamin D from food sources.

The Miracle of Vitamin D

By Krispin Sullivan, CN

Vitamin D From Food

What the research on vitamin D tells us is that unless you are a fisherman, farmer, or otherwise outdoors and exposed regularly to sunlight, living in your ancestral latitude (more on this later), you are unlikely to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin D from the sun. Historically the balance of one’s daily need was provided by food. Primitive peoples instinctively chose vitamin-D-rich foods including the intestines, organ meats, skin and fat from certain land animals, as well as shellfish, oily fish and insects. Many of these foods are unacceptable to the modern palate.

For food sources to provide us with D the source must be sunlight exposed. With exposure to UV-B sunlight, vitamin D is produced from fat in the fur, feathers, and skin of animals, birds and reptiles. Carnivores get additional D from the tissues and organs of their prey. Lichen contains vitamin D and may provide a source of vitamin D in the UV-B sunlight-poor northern latitudes.16 Vitamin D content will vary in the organs and tissues of animals, pigs, cows, and sheep, depending on the amount of time spent in UV-B containing sunlight and/or how much D is given as a supplement. Poultry and eggs contain varying amounts of vitamin D obtained from insects, fishmeal, and sunlight containing UV-B or supplements. Fish, unlike mammals, birds and reptiles, do not respond to sunlight and rely on vitamin D found in phytoplankton and other fish. Salmon must feed on phytoplankton and fish in order to obtain and store significant vitamin D in their fat, flesh, skin, and organs. Thus, modern farm-raised salmon, unless artificially supplemented, may be a poor source of this essential nutrient.

Modern diets usually do not provide adequate amounts of vitamin D;17 partly because of the trend to low fat foods and partly because we no longer eat vitamin-D-rich foods like naturally reared poultry and fatty fish such as kippers, and herring. Often we are advised to consume the egg white while the D is in the yolk or we eat the flesh of the fish avoiding the D containing skin, organs and fat. Sun avoidance combined with reduction in food sources contribute to escalating D deficiencies. Vegetarian and vegan diets are exceptionally poor or completely lacking in vitamin D predisposing to an absolute need for UV-B sunlight. Using food as one’s primary source of D is difficult to impossible.

About the Author

Krispin Sullivan, CN is a researcher and clinical nutritionist in practice in Woodacre, California. She is currently working on a book, Naked at Noon: The Importance of Sunlight and Vitamin D, to be published in 2001.

Instructions for physician monitoring of vitamin D, calcium and magnesium repletion are available from www.sunlightandvitamind.com or by contacting Krispin at krispin@krispin.com or 1-415-488-9636.

Source: http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnutrition/vitamindmiracle.html

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