Vitamin D plays a vital part in the overall health of the human body. It’s an important factor in keeping your muscles, heart, lungs, and brain work well, plus helping your body fight infection. It also aids in maintaining one’s bones healthy.
Weaker bones that are more likely to fracture are not just caused by calcium deficiency, but vitamin D deficiency as well. Calcium and vitamin D works together in a way that the body absorbs calcium through the help of vitamin D. When vitamin D is deficient, calcium absorption will also be lesser.
Where Can We Get Vitamin D?
Vitamin D absorption works in two ways: (1) we eat it from foods, or (2) get it from exposing ourselves under the sunlight. Foods containing vitamin D are so few. Only foods like fatty fish and egg yolks have it. That is why vitamin D is added to other food such as fortified soymilk, fortified juice, fortified breakfast cereals, and margarine.
On the other hand, our bodies can make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet B rays from the sunlight under specific conditions. Just 5 to 30 minutes on arms and legs twice a week can stimulate the production of vitamin D; however, it only works when the sun’s rays are most intense, that is, between 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon during the summer months.
Can we get too much Vitamin D from Food or Supplements?
Overdoing supplements gives the body more vitamin D than it needs which also will lead to too much absorption of calcium and kidney damage. The current recommendation for vitamin D is 200 IU per day for children and adults up to 50 years old, 400 IU for 51-70 years old, and 600 IU for those who are 71 and older.
Is Sunlight the Safest Way to produce Vitamin D?
Sun exposure does help the body produce its own vitamin D; however, sun exposure can also lead to skin cancer. Factors like sunscreen use, darker skin pigmentation, clothing, pollution, and aging can also reduce the production of vitamin D.
What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D?
Deficiency in vitamin D causes babies and children to have weaker and deformed bones which may cause them delay in learning to walk, lower height for their age, and bowing legs and arms. In adults, it can increase the risk of osteoporosis and other diseases.