Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for our body, our bone and teeth health. There is lot more importance of vitamin D in our body then you realize. It is a very cheap vitamin you can have without any cost. But it is not that simple for our body to make this vitamin. Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when you are exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D helps you to absorb calcium and promotes strong bone and teeth.
Daily requirement for vitamin D
• Age <70 years – 400 – 600 IU
• Age >70 years – 800 IU
If you don’t get enough sunlight, your intake should be closer to 1000 IU per day
Sources of vitamin D
Mainly vitamin D’s source is sunlight. Daily exposure to sunlight for 6 minutes in summer day and 15 minutes in winter days is essential for daily requirement. Of course, it depend on where you live, the intensity of the sun is different, especially in different month of the year.
To get most of it’s benefit, you need full exposure of sun, this means no covering, no sunscreen, otherwise insufficient vitamin D is produced by your body.
There is one more factor which affects your vitamin D production level, that is your skin tone. Darker complexion skin is less effective for sun exposure than a person with fair complexion. Therefore longer exposure to sun requires for darker complexion person. Your body makes vitamin D from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sunlight.
• Food source
Fatty fish, egg yolks, liver oil and shrimp, oysters are some of the best sources for vitamin D, but if you are happened to be a vegetarian then you have to rely on mushroom, dairy product (milk, cheese, yogurt) or fortified non-dairy product or fortified fruit juice such as orange juice and cereals.
Country like Canada, where you get sunlight for few months, you probably need to take supplements for the rest of the months. Otherwise, you don’t need any supplements when you get direct exposure to sunlight for 10-15 minutes a day.
Health risk of vitamin D insufficiency
- Getting sick and infected very often
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Bone and back pain
- Impaired wound healing
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
Side effects of getting too much vitamin D
With supplement there is chance to get an overdose of vitamin, so consult your doctor for the right dose. However too much sun exposure has not shown any side effects.
- Increased blood calcium level
- Elevated blood level
- Nausea, vomiting and poor diet
- Stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea
- Bone loss
- Kidney failure
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