Vitamin D Information

What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D Function

You should be know what is vitamin d, what does vitamin d do and the health benefits of vitamin d.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble micro-nutrient. It is produced by our skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight. Vitamin D refers to several different variations of this vitamin.

For humans, two forms of vitamin D are important: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).

While vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants, vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from sunlight. Vitamin D3 is also found in animal products, especially fish liver and vitamin D2 in yeast.

Though it is called a vitamin, its function is actually a pro hormone. It helps absorb calcium and phosphorous from the food in the intestine. The function of vitamin D is to cause increased absorption, longer retention and better utilization of calcium and phosphorus in the body. This is needed to form and maintain strong bones.

Around 80% of the Indian population is living with Vitamin D deficiency. Most of these people are not even aware of Vitamin D deficiency and its consequences.

Vitamin D Levels

How much vitamin d should one take? The Adequate Intake (AI) levels of Vitamin D have been established by the U.S. Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. The following are the current recommended adequate doses to meet physiological needs.

Vitamin D Daily Intake, Vitamin D Dose For Adults

[Source: Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board - Dietary Reference Intakes. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997]

IU = International Units

Male, female, pregnant/lactating women

Under the age of 50 years: 5 micrograms (200 IU or )

From 50-70 years-old: 10 micrograms daily (400 IU)

Food Sources of Vitamin D

What food sources have vitamin d? Vitamin D is available only in some foods, but the best way to obtain vitamin D is through the exposure to sunlight.

It is available free of charge from sun light. Just daily sit for 20 minutes in sun, exposing around 15 per cent of the body (it could be hands or feet) to sunlight.

A person would have to drink ten glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their diet.
Fatty fish like mackerel, tuna and sardines and fish liver oils are among the best sources. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in egg yolks, fortified milk, fortified dairy products, fortified cereals are good natural sources of D. The milk is fortified with 100 IU/cup of vitamin D, which is 25% of the Daily Value.

If you look at the food labels, you will not find the Vitamin D content, as the food labels are not required by law to list its content unless it has been fortified with vitamin D.

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

The natural question is what does vitamin d do for our body? Why vitamin d is important to us? Vitamin D influences key biological functions that are vital to our health.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, thereby helping bones and teeth stay strong and healthy. But vitamin D does much more than that as mentioned below:

  1. It is needed in the development of strong and healthy bones.
  2. Vitamin D reduces back pain and osteoporosis.
  3. It keeps minds of older men sharp.
  4. Vitamin D fights asthma.
  5. It reduces the risk of cancer: Vitamin D is the most effective medicine against cancer, more than the benefits of any cancer drug known to modern science!
  6. Vitamin D is used to treat Psoriasis.
  7. It prevents depression, breast cancer, prostate cancer and the effects diabetes and obesity.

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