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Calcium absorption, immunological function, and bone, muscle, and heart health are all aided by vitamin D. It may be found in foods and generated by your body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. However, few foods are high in vitamin D, except fatty fish.
After being exposed to sunshine, your body produces vitamin D on its own. Overexposure to the sun, on the other hand, can cause skin aging and cancer.
Many people try to supplement their vitamin D intake with other foods. Egg yolks, saltwater seafood, and liver are all high in vitamin D.
What exactly is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in a variety of bodily activities. Vitamin D comes in two forms in the food and supplements:
- Some mushrooms contain vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is a fat-soluble vitamin that may be found in fatty fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolks.
D3 is the most potent of the two, increasing vitamin D levels by nearly twice as much as D2 (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
When your skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun, significant levels of vitamin D can be produced. Any vitamin D that you don't need right away is stored in your body fat for later use.
Vitamin D receptors may be found in almost every cell in your body. It is necessary for a variety of functions, including bone health and immune system function, as well as cancer prevention.
When it comes to vitamin D, how much should you take?
Many variables influence how much vitamin D you require. These are some of them:
- exposure to the sun
This is only a sample of the elements that go into determining how much vitamin D a person needs.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 micrograms) regularly. However, other studies suggest that if you aren't exposed to the sun or have darker skin tones, your daily consumption should be greater.
Blood levels over 20 ng/ml or 30 ng/ml are deemed "adequate" depending on who you ask.
According to one study including healthy people, daily consumption of 1,120–1,680 IU was required to maintain adequate blood levels. Individuals who were vitamin D deficient required 5,000 IU to attain blood levels over 30 ng/ml in the same research.
In postmenopausal women with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml, consuming 800–2,000 IU boosted blood levels over 20 ng/ml, according to studies. To attain 30 ng/ml, however, larger dosages were required).
In addition, those who are overweight or obese may require more vitamin D. In most cases, a daily vitamin D intake of 1,000–4,000 IU, or 25–100 micrograms, should be sufficient to maintain optimum blood levels.
The safe top level, according to the National Institutes of Health, is 4,000 IU. Make sure you don't take any more than that without first visiting a doctor.
What are the ideal vitamin D levels in the blood?
Vitamin D levels in the blood are measured by measuring 25(OH)D in the blood, which is the body's storage form of vitamin D. However, there is significant disagreement over what constitutes appropriate blood levels.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Nordic Nutrition Council provide recommendations based on the blood levels shown below.
- 25(OH)D higher than 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l) is adequate.
- 25(OH)D less than 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l) is inadequate.
- 25(OH)D levels less than 12 ng/ml (25 nmol/l) are considered inadequate.
According to these organizations, blood levels of over 20 ng/ml fulfill the vitamin D needs of 97.5 percent of the population. Higher blood levels were not shown to be related to any extra health advantages by an IOM committee.
However, some experts, such as the Endocrine Society, advise aiming for blood levels closer to 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l).
What are the most common vitamin D sources?
Vitamin D may be found in:
- direct sunlight
- vitamin D-enriched foods
Because few foods contain large quantities of vitamin D, overall vitamin D consumption is low. Fatty fish, such as salmon, and fish liver oils, are both good sources of vitamin D.
Small quantities of vitamin D can also be found in egg yolks, and milk and cereals in some countries are fortified with it. Supplements, on the other hand, are readily available and safe.
Benefits Of Vitamin D:
- Bones in good shape
- Vitamin D is important in the management of calcium and the preservation of phosphorus levels in the blood Trusted Source. These elements are essential for sustaining bone health.
- Vitamin D is required for the intestines to activate and absorb calcium, as well as to recover calcium that would otherwise be excreted by the kidneys.
- Vitamin D deficiency in youngsters can induce rickets, which causes the bones to weaken, resulting in a severely bowlegged look.
- In adults, vitamin D insufficiency causes osteocalcin or weakening of the bones. Osteocalcin causes muscle weakness and low bone density.
Flu risk is reduced:
A look back at 2018, Some investigations have indicated that vitamin D has a protective impact against the influenza virus, according to current data.
However, the researchers looked at other studies that found vitamin D did not affect flu and flu risk. To establish the preventive effect of vitamin D against the flu, more study is needed.
Infants in good health
In youngsters, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to elevated blood pressure. A 2018 study discovered a probable link between low vitamin D levels and stiffness in children's artery walls.
Evidence suggests a link between inadequate vitamin D exposure and an increased risk of allergy sensitization, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI).
Children who live closer to the equator, for example, had lower rates of hospitalization for allergies and fewer prescriptions for epinephrine autoinjectors. They are also less likely to be allergic to peanuts.
Pregnancy in good health
A look ahead to 2019, According to Trusted Source, pregnant women who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to develop preeclampsia and give birth prematurely.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women, according to doctors.
It's also worth noting that high vitamin D levels during pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of food allergy in children during the first two years of life, according to a 2013 study Trusted Source.
Vitamin D is necessary for bone health as well as a variety of other health benefits. Many people suffer from deficiency, which can have serious health effects.
If you're thinking about increasing your vitamin D intake, examine the following reasons and see your doctor.