Vitamin D is an important nutrient for the body and a lot of people do not have accurate information about it.
It is believed in some places that once you walk in the sun in the morning, you have adequate Vitamin D for your body. Doesn’t really work that way. So, let’s talk about this incredible vitamin.
Fact Files About Vitamin D
It is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D1, D2, and D3. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ because your body is built to get vitamin D through your skin (from sunlight) rather than through your mouth (by food). The primary source of this vitamin is the sun, but we can also get it from some foods.
Some lifestyle factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of this vitamin through the sun alone. These factors include pollution, use of sunscreen and spending more time indoors.
Therefore, we need to get the Vitamin from foods too.
It helps in bone health and to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and more. It also regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous. Getting a sufficient amount of the vitamin is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.
It also plays a role in
- reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
- decreasing your chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 findings published in Circulation
HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO YOU NEED?
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Bone health was the single focus of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations on how much vitamin D and calcium people should get.
The recommendations for adults up to age 69 rose to 600 IU/day, and to 800 IU/day for adults starting at age 70. Older adults need more because as they age, their skin does not produce it efficiently, they spend less time outdoors, and they tend to not get enough.
SIGNS THAT YOU ARE NOT GETTING ENOUGH VITAMIN D
Most people with a deficiency may not be aware. Some of the deficiency symptoms are:
- bone pain
- tiredness or fatigue
- achy bones
- head sweating
- gut trouble
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in adults of all ages who always wear sun protection (which blocks its production) or limit their outdoor activities. Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of deficiency and insufficiency, and this percentage rises in higher-risk populations such as the elderly and those with darker skin. Vitamin D deficiency is linked with an increased risk for serious diseases. Reduced levels of the vitamin are associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and autoimmune disorders. Deficiency is also linked with multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, depression, and osteoporosis.
Increasing levels of vitamin D3 among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year. Optimizing your vitamin D levels may help you prevent cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and infections.
Foods that contain vitamin D include:
- Mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light to increase vitamin D
- Cod liver oil (warning: cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A; too much may be bad for you)
- Sardines canned in oil
- Milk or yogurt — regardless of whether it’s whole, nonfat, or reduced fat — fortified with vitamin D
- Beef or calf liver
- Egg yolks
Till next time, watch out for Vitamin D in your diet.