Vitamin D is one of the important elements required by the body for optimum function. Vitamin D’s primary function is to strengthen bones and teeth while also increasing immunity. Unlike other vitamins, the body can make its own vitamin D. Here’s a look at vitamin D in greater depth.
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is required for the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is also essential for maintaining robust bone formation. The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements confirms this, stating that the primary function of vitamin D is to improve calcium absorption and that vitamin D insufficiency causes bone loss and impairment.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble in its own right. Vitamin D is present in two forms in foods and supplements. The first is vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which can be found in certain mushrooms, and the second is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which can be found in fish, fish oil, egg yolks, and sunlight.
When the skin is exposed to sunshine outdoors, the body produces vitamin D. Vitamin D3 production occurs when ultraviolet B (UVB) photons strike cholesterol in skin cells. The quality of vitamin D3 obtained through sunlight is far superior to vitamin D obtained from the diet. This is because vitamin D3 is easier for the body to process and lasts longer in the blood.
Vitamin D benefits
In the forms of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3, Vitamin D can be used to treat and prevent various ailments. Here are some of the health benefits of vitamin D.
1. Vitamin D and Bone Health
Calcium absorption is aided by vitamin D. Your bones can become brittle and weak if you don’t get enough of it. In adults, a lack of vitamin D can result in brittle bones or osteoporosis. Vitamin D insufficiency is a key cause of rickets, bone disease, and other serious public health issues in children. These problems can be avoided by drinking vitamin D-fortified milk.
2. Vitamin D and Cancer
Early research suggests that vitamin D may help protect against colon cancer, but its effects on breast, prostate and other cancers remain unknown. Higher intakes of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids provide greater benefits (VITAL). Meanwhile, to help prevent cancer, specialists urge regular physical activity, a healthy body weight, and a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
3. Vitamin D and Depression
It’s unclear how vitamin D and depression are linked. Vitamin D deficiency has been related to depression in both men and women, according to research. One probable explanation is that a lack of vitamin D leads the parathyroid glands to create more hormones. Low levels of vitamin D and excessive parathyroid hormone levels have been connected to the severity of depression.
4. Vitamin D and Weight
Most women gain weight after menopause and continue to do so until they reach their 60s. There is evidence that taking vitamin D and calcium supplements can help to reduce weight growth. In one trial, women who did not obtain enough of both nutrients at the start had an 11 percent higher chance of weight gain, but the weight could be maintained or even decreased due to taking the supplement.
5. Vitamin D and Children
Children who obtain enough vitamin D from the sun or supplements appear to have a lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Inadequate vitamin D has also been related to more severe childhood asthma, according to research. Children with asthma who have low vitamin D levels are must be treated more frequently and require more medications.
6. Vitamin D and Coronavirus
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people took vitamin D supplements and spent a lot of time in the sun. This is done to boost the body’s immune system to avoid the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Sunbathing does, in fact, aid in the production of vitamin D in the body.
The Best Way to Get Enough Vitamin D
You don’t have to worry about getting enough vitamin D in the actual world. It is produced by your body on its own. The trick is to expose a little portion of your skin to direct sunlight for 15 to 30 minutes multiple times per week. However, UV rays that boost vitamin D production can potentially cause skin cancer. As a result, most experts advise against getting your vitamin D from excessive sun exposure.
The darker a person’s skin tone, the more difficult it is for vitamin D to be absorbed from sunshine. Light-skinned individuals may require 10 to 15 minutes of sunbathing to obtain vitamin D. Some persons who are sensitive to sunlight may require alternative sources.
Sunbathing can aid in the synthesis of vitamin D in the body. However, sunbathing alone is insufficient to meet the daily requirements for vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D required per day is determined by several factors, including age, race, the season of residence, and sun exposure. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises 400-800 IU of vitamin D per day, or 10-20 micrograms. This quantity can be gotten via food.
There is no need for healthy persons to take additional vitamin D pills because the level may be met through food. To be clear, the food consumed is must be full of nutritious and high in vitamin D.
Other studies have indicated that your daily vitamin D intake can be higher if you get less sun exposure or have a darker skin tone. Adults with vitamin D levels in the bloodless than 30 ng/dL should consume 1,500-2,000 IU of vitamin D per day.
Vitamin D Rich Foods
– Salmon is high in vitamin D. Salmon is also a food ingredient that contains the highest amount of vitamin D compared to other foods.
– Sardines have a lower vitamin D level than salmon, but they are a good option because they are less expensive. Sardines contain around 270-300 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams.
– Tuna is another form of fish that contains vitamin D. In 100 grams of tuna, there are around 227 IU of vitamin D.
– Mushrooms are a source of vitamin D; vegetarians can consume mushrooms to meet their daily vitamin D requirements. In fact, the vitamin D content of mushrooms varies depending on the variety. Wild mushrooms typically have higher levels of vitamin D than commercially farmed mushrooms.
– Egg yolks have a negative image due to their ability to raise harmful cholesterol. That is not to say you should avoid eating egg yolks. Egg yolks are high in vitamin D, zinc, and selenium, all of which help to increase immunity.