Sapna Magazine Archives

The Archives 2004-2020

Preventing the Dreaded “D” Deficiency

A few weeks ago I was in the middle of a regular check up with my General Practitioner when she said, “Let’s do a Vitamin D test on you. Practically everyone on the east coast is vitamin D deficient.”

“Fine, I’m sure I can’t be that deficient,” I said, as I thought of all the yogurt I snack on and the lattes I consume daily.

To my amazement, not only was I deficient, I had practically void of Vitamin D ! I proceeded to defend myself, saying it was unfair to take this test in the winter, when I don’t get any sun. But my doctor was not buying it.

Luckily, taking a high potency Vitamin D tablet daily can easily treat low levels of Vitamin D, so I am currently “D” compliant, but the incident led me to do a little bit of research on why we all need vitamin D in the first place.

There are many types of vitamin D, but only two forms of vitamin D are important in humans: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Plants synthesize vitamin D2, while our skin synthesizes Vitamin D3 when it is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from sunlight.

In our bodies, Vitamin D is also used to aid in the absorption of Calcium. If not caught, low levels of Vitamin D could lead to some serious issues. Classic Vitamin D deficiency diseases are rickets (softening of bones, usually visible near the knees) and osteomalacia (the weakening of muscles and bones). Low levels of Vitamin D are also associated with an increase in depression. This is primarily dominant in the winter months, when SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, can occur. This is when people are losing vitamin D during the winter months, and melatonin (mood regulating hormone) is being released. Normally, melatonin is suppressed in the sunlight, which allows Vitamin D to then be absorbed in your body through sunlight. The importance of Vitamin D is also relevant to post menopausal women, “postmenopausal women who increased their vitamin D intake by 1100 IU of vitamin D3 reduced their relative risk of cancer by 60 to 77% (NEJM).”

Unfortunately, the human body does not produce vitamin D, but it can be found in many foods, including: eggs, milk, cheese, beef and fish. Since vitamin D is also absorbed through your body through sunlight. Experts say as little as ten minutes of sunlight a day is enough to replenish your body of daily Vitamin D needs. Use the chart below to figure out your recommended Vitamin D intake:

Age Children Men Women Pregnancy Lactation

Birth to 13 years 5 mcg
(200 IU)
14-18 years 5 mcg 5 mcg 5 mcg 5 mcg
(200 IU) (200 IU) (200 IU) (200 IU)

19-50 years 5 mcg 5 mcg 5 mcg 5 mcg
(200 IU) (200 IU) (200 IU) (200 IU)

51-70 years
10 mcg 10 mcg
(400 IU) (400 IU)

71+ years 15 mcg 15 mcg
(600 IU) (600 IU)

Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999

Salmon Masala

Now, let’s take a look at a Salmon Masala recipe that can provide you with at least 360 IU’s of Vitamin D per serving!

2 pounds of Salmon
2 medium Onions, chopped
2 Green Chilies, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic , grated
1 T Ginger, grated
1 T Coriander powder
4 T Tomato Puree
2 cups of water
Salt To Taste
2 T of Oil
1 T of Cumin seeds
2 tsp Turmeric
3 tsp Garam Masala
3 T Cilantro leaves

How to make Salmon Masala:

  • Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the fish pieces for 5 minutes. Drain the fish on a paper towel
  • Add the onion and chilies, and fry for five minutes
  • Add the cumin, turmeric, coriander powder and garam masala; fry for another 2 minutes
  • Add the, garlic, ginger, coriander chutney and tomato puree.
  • Add the water and salt.
  • Add the fish pieces.
  • Let this boil until the sauce has thickened
  • Garnish with Cilantro leaves and serve with rice or roti. Enjoy!

– Kanwal Ullah

*photo source:

6 thoughts on “Preventing the Dreaded “D” Deficiency

  1. This is interesting! It may be difficult to isolate, but I wonder if there are differences in levels of happiness or contentment with life in different countries due to the amount of sunlight people get.

    I need to try the salmon recipe soon.

  2. Nice article. What level of heat should be used when frying the fish and boiling the subsequent ingredients?

  3. Lots of helpful stuff on this site. Right now I’m focused on getting shredded six pack abs. It’s my personal objective these days. I’m wondering if anyone has any special diet recommendations to help me get six pack abs faster I’ve been told that egg whites, oatmeal, salmon, blueberries and broccoli are all important to include in my diet. Anything else I’m not thinking of?

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