Vitamin D

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D

Eating foods that are a good source of vitamin D can help prevent conditions such as osteoporosis, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, the common cold and flu, and autoimmune diseases (including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis). The best source of vitamin D is direct exposure to sunlight (in moderation). Foods that contain vitamin D include: salmon, mackerel, sardines, fish liver oils, and eggs. Most dairy products (yogurt and milk) are fortified with vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones.

Function of Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is needed for the maintenance of an intact and strong skeleton. It also regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood by ensuring correct intake from intestines and secretion. Vitamin D and calcium keep the immune and nervous systems healthy. Research shows that vitamin D also regulates the growth of skin cells. Vitamin D is found in certain foods and is manufactured in the skin as a result of direct exposure to sunlight.

Deficiency of Vitamin D:

Rickets is a vitamin D deficiency disease that causes the softening and weakening of bones in children. It used to be quite common but now is rarely seen in countries where most milk products are fortified. Milk that is used to make yogurt and cheese is sometimes not fortified with vitamin D. Reading the labels is the best way to know.

Studies suggest that there are several risk factors that may contribute to vitamin D deficiency. Please consult with your physician if you are concerned about any of the following risk factors.

Older Adults (age 50 and over) have a higher risk of developing vitamin D deficiency, because the elderly have reduced capacity to synthesize vitamin D in the skin when exposed to UVB radiation. They’re also more likely to stay indoors.

People with dark skin tones synthesize less vitamin D on exposure to sunlight than those with light skin tones. Dark-skinned individuals who live far from the equator have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Infants who are exclusively breast fed and do not receive vitamin D supplementation may also be at high risk of vitamin D deficiency especially if they have a dark skin tone and/or receive little sun exposure. Vitamin D supplementation may not be necessary – (Please consult with your child’s pediatrician.)

Cystic fibrosis and cholestatic liver disease may also impair the absorption of dietary vitamin D. People who have inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s disease, are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, especially if they have had small bowel resections.

Obesity also increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency. After vitamin D is ingested or synthesized in the skin, it gets deposited into body fat stores, which makes it less bioavailable to individuals who have large stores of body fat.

Toxicity (Vitamin D Overdose):

Taking high doses of vitamin D can cause several adverse effects including muscle problems, excessive thirst, metal taste, bone pain, poor appetite, weight loss, tiredness, sore eyes, vomiting, itching skin, diarrhea or constipation, and a need to urinate. Getting too much sunlight will not provide an overdose of vitamin D.

People who have high blood calcium or phosphorus levels, heart problems, andkidney disease should be cautious when considering taking vitamin D supplements.

Caution: Direct sun exposure in moderation and eating natural foods that are high in vitamin D, is the safest and healthiest way to get an adequate supply of the nutrient. Due to risk of toxicity, individuals should always consult with a knowledgeable health care provider before starting doses of supplements. Before giving supplements to children, it is recommended that you first consult with their pediatrician. Also, some supplements may interfere with medications. If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you consult with your physician before taking any supplements.

All supplements should be kept in childproof bottles and out of children’s reach.

Vitamin D Food Chart (List of Foods High in Vitamin D):

Pink Salmon, canned, 3 ounces – (530 IU)
Sardines, canned, 3 ounces – (231 IU)
Mackerel, canned, 3 ounces – (213 IU)
Soy Milk, fortified with vitamin D, 8 ounces – (100 IU)
Orange Juice, fortified with vitamin D, 8 ounces – (100 IU)
Cow’s ,Milk, fortified with vitamin D, 8 ounces – (98 IU)
Egg Yolk 1 large – (21 IU)

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