Vitamin D – The Sunny Vitamin

Vitamin D is important for your body because it regulates the amount of calcium in your blood and makes sure you maintain proper levels in your system. It does this by assisting in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food in the intestines. Vitamin D is also essential for keeping your bones and immune system healthy and strong. People who get a lot of Vitamin D from their food and supplements are less likely to get colon cancer and skin disease. Vitamin D can also help a person’s hearing by repairing the tiny bones located in the ear.

Your body makes Vitamin D when sunlight shines directly on your skin. The ultraviolet light in sunshine converts, through a photochemical reaction, the cholesterol that is found directly under your skin into Vitamin D3, which then travels to your kidneys and is converted into an active form of the vitamin call calcitriol.

Vitamin D was discovered in the 1930s when it was discovered that swallowing a spoonful of cod-liver oil a day prevented rickets. Kids who didn’t get enough Vitamin D in their diets developed this, disease which prevented their bones from growing and hardening properly. There is very little incidents of rickets today because the milk and the dairy products we consume are fortified with Vitamin D, which is the best source for Vitamin D. Other food sources rich in Vitamin D are fish liver oils, whole eggs, beef liver, and fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, catfish, and eel.

The daily value for Vitamin D is 400 IUs a day. Most people only, though, only get approximately a quarter of this amount through their diets. Thus, Vitamin D supplementation through a multi-vitamin may be advisable. Since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, though, care should be taken not to consume excessive amounts (i.e., more than 2,000 UI per day). Excessive Vitamin D can increase the chance that a person will suffer a heart attack or kidney stones.

Many calcium supplements on the market include Vitamin D, so that is typically a good way to get enough in your body. If you are wondering what the right amount of supplementation is right for you, you should consult your health care professional, who can help take your particular health situation into account. In particular, recent studies have shown that adolescents low in Vitamin D have increased risk of high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar. So supplementation may also be appropriate for youth in your family.