We have been hearing a lot lately about the importance of Vitamin D.

Even the childhood bone disease, Rickets, is being seen again due to a lack of the vitamin in children.

Some people blame the increase in immune diseases on a lack of Vitamin D as well.

With the increase in the use of sunscreen and with living in the North, it is important that both kids and adults supplement with Vitamin D. But if you have gone out and tried to purchase a Vitamin D supplement, you may have left the store with more questions than you did when you walked in.

How much is really enough? It was initially recommended that youth and adults get 200IU (international units) per day, but that recommendation has since been increased to a minimum of 1000IU per day. Anything under 2000IU a day is considered safe.

Where can you get more Vitamin D? From sunlight or artificial UV light (15 minutes direct sunlight with no sunscreen), fortified milk, oily fish, beef and fortified cereals.

Be careful with the fortified foods, it is unknown how much of the vitamin your body actually absorbs from these sources.

As I have discussed in the past, it is important to have a balanced diet of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It is thought that some of the Vitamin D deficiency may actually be because of the lack of healthy fats in peoples’ diets. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that it will not break down and be absorbed into your body for use if your body does not have fats available to break it down.

Do I need to talk to my doctor first? Vitamin D is a supplement like any other and if you are on any other medications or supplementation you should be talking to your doctor about the amount of Vitamin D you should be taking.

My bottle says it contains Vitamin D3 … is that the same thing? Vitamin D3 is the vitamin that is produced when the skin reacts with UVB light. So yes, it is a healthy supplement for your diet.

So get out in the sun for a few minutes when you can, eat your fish, get in your healthy oils and take a good Vitamin D supplement. You should start to feel more energetic soon.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.