There are a few vitamins and minerals which are predominantly found in animal or animal based foods. Therefore, it can be more challenging for raw vegans to ensure they get adequate amounts of these particular vitamins. One of these vitamins, in particular, is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and other than getting the majority of our quota from sunlight, it can otherwise be found in animal based foods such as fish liver oil, egg yolk, butter, liver and oily fish. So, if you are living in a climate where you don’t see the sun much in the winter time, your body cannot produce the Vitamin D it needs. Therefore, in this article, we will be discussing how vegans can obtain their RDA or ‘recommended daily allowance’ of Vitamin D and how vitamin K and calcium are connected with this important vitamin.
Vitamin D works alongside calcium to ensure healthy formation and maintenance of healthy bone as well as influencing the body’s use the mineral phosphorus. This all produces strong bones and teeth. However, it also improves the function of muscles, and may be linked to other possible health benefits such as lowering the risk of cancer, bone disease, autism and diabetes. Many more people than we think are deficient in this vitamin. On average in North America, only 68% of people have blood concentrations of vitamin D that are sufficient for bone health, according to statistics. The recommended amount is based on age, but for most individuals 1,000 units (IU) a day is required.
In my personal opinion, this is one of the few supplementations during the winter months, I would recommend. Symptoms of deficiency of this vitamin can be subtle but include muscle weakness, fatigue, bone pain, bone and cardiovascular disease. It can be difficult to find a good vegan source of Vitamin D, however Country Life make a very good D3 supplement (cholecalciferol) which is manufactured from Lichen which is a complex organism consisting of fungi and algae.
Calcium is also important for keeping our bones and teeth healthy and strong and supporting muscle and nerve function. Like vitamin D, calcium is needed to keep bones and teeth strong and to reduce the risk of developing the bone diseases like osteoporosis, osteopenia, rickets and fractures. Calcium intake is particularly important for children and adolescents because they are still building bone density. The amount of calcium recommended daily, again, is based on age, but usually between 1,000 to 1,200 mg a day from diet is required. Calcium is much easier for raw vegans to obtain and is found in leafy greens, broccoli, beans, almonds, seeds, cauliflower and molasses.
The VitaminD – Calcium Link
Taking extra supplemental calcium without sufficient amounts of vitamin D which is needed for proper utilization and absorption of calcium, can be detrimental and lead to increased calcification in joints, arteries and kidney stones. Therefore, vitamin D should always be taken into consideration when we are looking at calcium intake.
In the Northern hemisphere, winter is just around the corner – so catch the last of those rays of sunshine (and vitamin D) until Winter begins my friend….. be healthy, be well, be happy.
|Michelle Firrisi is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Clinical Herbalist. She lived most of her life in the Island of Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, UK. She now lives in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Michelle also holds an Honours Degree in Bachelor of Science Podiatric Medicine and practices Reiki and Massage in her spare time. Her main interest areas are Nutrition, Addiction and reversing Degenerative Disease with plant based nutrition.
Know more about Michelle here.