The Value in Vitamin D
The use of supplements is debated among followers of the paleo diet, but one vitamin that seems to be particularly important to a modern day paleo is Vitamin D. Many paleo experts recommend adding additional Vitamin D to your paleolithic diet. Vitamin D can be included in our diet from three sources: food, exposure to sunlight and supplementation.
Very few foods contain a substantial amount of Vitamin D, and among these foods that are highest in the vitamin and allowed by the paleo diet are cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna, other fatty fish, eggs, sardines and beef liver. Vitamin D is produced by cholesterol found in the skin, so people following a low cholesterol diet are at an increased risk of a deficiency.
Vitamin D is a part of many of our bodies’ processes, which include, bone health, reduced inflammation, regulation of cells, and concentration of calcium and phosphates. A Vitamin D deficiency may lead to bone problems, including osteoporosis, rickets, and auto-immune problems. It is recommended that people between the ages of 13 and 50 consume about 200 IU (international units) of Vitamin D daily, but many followers of the paleo diet recommend consuming more. Generally, consuming levels up to 10,000 IU are considered healthy.
Potential Vitamin D deficiency highlights one of the differences in how our paleo ancestors truly lived, and how we generally live today. Our paleo ancestors received a great deal of Vitamin D from their exposure to sunlight, whereas, the majority of our lives today are lived indoors. This is why many advocates of the paleo diet also recommend supplementing with Vitamin D.
When choosing a Vitamin D supplement, it is recommended that you select a Vitamin D3 supplement, rather than a D2 supplement. Vitamin D3 is the real Vitamin D substance, and it is the same as what is produced in human skin in response to sunlight. The D3 supplement comes from either cod liver oil or lanolin, and is the most effective at treating Vitamin D deficiency.