Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, can be produced in the body with mild sun exposure or consumed in food or supplements.
Adequate vitamin D intake is important for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption, maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and is suggested to supply a protective effect against multiple diseases and conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
SIGNS FOR VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY:
- People with darker skin. The darker your skin the more sun you need to get the same amount of vitamin D as a fair-skinned person. For this reason, if you’re Black, you’re much more likely to have vitamin D deficiency that someone who is White.
- People who spend a lot of time indoors during the day. For example, if you’re housebound, work nights or are in hospital for a long time.
- People who cover their skin all of the time. For example, if you wear sunscreen or if your skin is covered with clothes.
- People that live in the Gulf countries. This is because the fewer time they spend in the sunlight due to the extremely high temperature.
- Older people have thinner skin than younger people and this may mean that they can’t produce as much vitamin D.
- Infants that are breastfed and aren’t given a vitamin D supplement. If you’re feeding your baby on breast milk alone, and you don’t give your baby a vitamin D supplement or take a supplement yourself, your baby is more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
- Pregnant women.
- People who are obese.
- Your bone aches. If you’re having bone aches in combination with fatigue, you probably have Vitamin D deficiency
Health benefits for Vitamin D:
These are the possible health benefits fro Vitamin D, from from assisting good bone health to possible cancer prevention.
Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of calcium and maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood, two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones. We need vitamin D to absorb calcium in the intestines and to reclaim calcium that would otherwise be excreted through the kidneys.
2-Vitamin D reduces the risk of flu.
Vitamin D is an important factor in immune system health. Some studies have shown that there is a link between vitamin D status and the risk of developing influenza. People who have low vitamin D levels may have an increased risk of developing influenza.
Children given 1,200 IU of vitamin D per day for 4 months during the winter reduced their risk of influenza A infection by over 40%.2
Vitamin D deficiency can cause Rickets in infants. Rickets is a bone-softening disease linked with inadequate vitamin D intake, weakened bones in small children result in bowed legs, soft skulls, and delays in crawling and walking.
Babies, children, and teens should be taking vitamin Dsupplements — either as drops or in pill form — for good bone health. It’s especially important for infants who are breastfed, since breastmilk contains only small amounts of vitamin D.
Pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D seem to be at greater risk of developing preeclampsia and needing acesarean section. Poor vitamin D status is also associated with gestational diabetes mellitus and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women.
Vitamin D is extremely important for regulating cell growth and for cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that calcitriol (the hormonally active form of vitamin D) can reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, increasing cancer cell death and by reducing cell proliferation and metastases. Vitamin D has an influence on more than 200 human genes, which can be impaired when D status is suboptimal.
How to get the Vitamin D that your body needs?
The two main ways to get vitamin D are by exposing your bare skin to sunlight and by taking vitamin D supplements. You can’t get the right amount of vitamin D your body needs just from food. However, this is a list of foods with good levels of vitamin D:
- Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon: 1,360 IU
- Herring, fresh, raw, 4 ounces: 1,056 IU
- Swordfish, cooked, 4 ounces: 941 IU
- Raw maitake mushrooms, 1 cup: 786 IU
- Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 4 ounces: 596 IU
- Sardines, canned, 4 ounces: 336 IU
- Fortified skim milk, 1 cup: 120 IU
- Tuna, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces: 68 IU
- Egg, chicken, whole large: 44 IU.