Vitamin D the Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is one of the most popular vitamins that gained attention in the past couple of years. This vitamin is important for bone health, because it helps our bodies absorb calcium from the small intestine, which is needed for stronger bones and teeth. Another function of Vitamin D is blocking parathyroid hormone; this hormone makes bones fragile and thin. Vitamin D also plays a role in the immune system by fighting infections.
You can get vitamin D from different sources such as, sunlight, food and supplement.
Vitamin D sources:
Your body can make Vitamin D from sunlight by exposing your skin to the sun from 5-15 minutes 2-3 times a week. The best time for sun exposure is between 10am to 3pm.
Some foods are high in Vitamin D these are, dairy products, eggs, fatty fish such as (salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring), and fortified foods like, cereals.
You can take Vitamin D supplements if you’re deficient, vegan, or live in a country with minimum sun exposure.
Vitamin D levels in blood:
Optimal levels: greater than 50nmol/l
Low levels: less than 50nmol/l
Deficient: less than 25nmol/l
Vitamin D deficiency:
Lack of sun exposure due to indoor jobs or using sunscreen and following a vegan diet can increase the risk of Vitamin D deficiency. People who have intestinal disorders like, crohn’s disease and celiac disease, and malabsorption might also suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. Surprisingly, obesity can also cause vitamin D deficiency because fat cells remove Vitamin D from your blood leaving you with low Vitamin D levels.
The symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are,
· Bone deformation in children called “rickets”
· Bone pain in adults called “osteomalacia”
· Bone fracture in older people
· Muscle pain
How much Vitamin D do you need?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D is 10-20 micrograms (mcg). Infants up to 1 year old take 10 mcg, adults, pregnant or lactating women take 15 mcg, people over 70 years old take 20 mcg.
Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, you can find it in high healthy fat foods. It is one of the major vitamins that a large number of people are deficient in, but you can prevent the deficiency by following the right approach and increase your intake through diet, supplement and sun exposure.
Cleveland Clinic. (2019). The Role Of Vitamin D & Vitamin D Deficiency | Cleveland Clinic.
Publishing, H. (2019). Vitamin D and your health: Breaking old rules, raising new hopes - Harvard Health.
WebMD. (2019). Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, and Health Risks.
Healthline. (2019). How Much Vitamin D Should You Take For Optimal Health?.