A Registered Dietitian Explains The Biggest Myth About Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most well-documented players for immune support—an “old-school” nutrient, if you will.* However, it skyrocketed in popularity this past year, after cross-sectional studies found vitamin D deficiency was higher in COVID patients than the control groups. As such, vitamin D finally got the recognition it deserves—although, says Ferira, it’s important to truly digest what you’re reading online.
“We’re all deficient in vitamin D,” says Ferira. She states that 92.5% of Americans don’t even get 400 IU a day of vitamin D in their diet, whereas “we actually need a minimum of 2,000 to 3,000 IU daily,” so you do the math. A huge gap—and yet, most health media outlets provide a single solution: Eat vitamin-D-rich foods.
“That’s a huge myth that I’d like to bust,” Ferira notes. (She explains her reasoning further, in case you’re curious). “Telling someone to meet their vitamin D requirement through food is like giving you a quart of paint to go repaint your entire house.”
Vitamin D is naturally found in small amounts in a handful of foods—which are helpful for preventing extreme vitamin D deficiency and related ailments like rickets or osteomalacia. For example, 1 cup of milk contains 100 IU of vitamin D. But when it comes to ramping up and maintaining healthy vitamin D status for life, those modest intake levels alone just won’t cut it.*