Vitamin D aka the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin when your skin comes in contact with sunlight. There are 3 groups of vitamin D: D-1, D-2, and D-3. Your body can get vitamin D through certain foods as well. However many people supplement to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in their diet.
Vitamin D has several important roles in our health and the functions of our bodies. One of the most important functions the “sunshine” vitamin does is regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting the proper amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.
A lack of vitamin D in your diet and you’re at risk of developing bone abnormalities. These include soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis).
3 Reason to Make Sure You Get Some D in Your Life
1. Vitamin D fights disease
Research studies suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in:
- reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
- decreasing the chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 researchers’ published in Circulation
- Aids in reduce your chances of catching the flu, according to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
2. Vitamin D reduces depression
Research has shown that vitamin D may regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, researchers found that people with depression who started a vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.
The fact is, most of the vitamin D that we receive is not from food but from the sunshine. But since we work inside and most of our busy days keep us out of the sunlight we are not getting the “sunshine vitamin” we need. Therefore supplementing is the most logical way to get the proper amount of vitamin D.
3. Vitamin D boosts weight loss
Adding vitamin D supplements to your diet when you’re trying to lose weight will give you a fat burning boost. You will also get the added benefit of prevent heart disease. After all what is weight lose without your health?
One study showed that taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement people were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The reach scientists concluded the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.
Another study showed that overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk risk.
Ward off D-ficiency
Many factors can affect your ability to get vitamin D through the sun alone. Such as:
- High pollution in the atmosphere
- Sunscreen blocks the Sun’s rays to active your skin’s natural production of vitmain D
- Staying indoors to often
- Buildings and structures block sunlight
- Darker skin tones. (Higher the levels of melanin, which makes skin it’s darker tone, the less vitamin D the skin can absorb.)
These it’s why it’s important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight.
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms in adults include:
- tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well
- severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause you to walk with a waddling gait
- stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips
Only a doctors can diagnose a vitamin D deficiency with a blood test. If you have a deficiency, your doctor may order X-rays to check the density of your bones.
Your doctor will likely recommend you take daily vitamin D supplements if you are found to have a Deficiency. Depending on how deficient you are on vitamin D your doctor may want you to take high doses of a supplement.
Food sources of vitamin D
There are few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Because of this, some foods are fortified but that does not mean that your getting a natural vitamin D source. Natural sources are easily absorbed and used by your body. Synthetic forms of Vitamins are not as well used or adsorbed by the body and unfortunately fortified foods are filled with synthetic vitamins and minerals. Foods that contain vitamin D include:
- egg yolk
- milk (fortified)
- cereal (fortified)
- yogurt (fortified)
- orange juice (fortified)
It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements is the best way to ensure your get your daily amount.
How much do you need?
There has been some debate over the amount of vitamin D needed for health and wellness. New research shows that we need more vitamin D than in the past. Normal blood serum levels range from 50 to 100 micrograms per deciliter. Depending on your blood level, you may need more vitamin D.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ new recommendations based on international units (IUs) per day. The standard type of measurement for drugs and vitamins is measured in IUs.
Each type of vitamin has it’s own level of IU for health and wellness. An IU is determined by how much of a substance produces an effect in your body. The recommended IUs for vitamin D are:
- children and teens: 600 IU
- adults up to age 70: 600 IU
- adults over age 70: 800 IU
- pregnant or breastfeeding women: 600 IU
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