Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3.
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.
Vitamin D has several important functions Perhaps the most vital are:
- Vitamin D helps to reduce weight. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.
- Facilitates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus
- Facilitating the normal immune system function.
- For normal growth and development of bones and teeth
- Improved resistance against certain diseases.
- Decreasing your chance of developing heart disease
- Helping to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu
- Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression.
- If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis).
Factors affecting absorption of vitamin D through the sun alone are :
Factors affecting the absorption of vitamin D through the sun alone are:
- Being in an area with high pollution
- Using sunscreen
- Spending more time indoors
- Living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
- Having darker skin. (The higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D the skin can absorb.)
- These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people. That’s why it’s important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight.
The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults include:
- Tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well
- Severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause you to walk with a waddling gait
- Stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips
If you’re diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, your doctor will likely recommend you take daily vitamin D supplements.
Food Sources of Vitamin D
Few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Because of this, some foods are fortified. This means that vitamin D has been added. Foods that contain vitamin D include:
- Egg yolk
- Milk (fortified)
- Cereal (fortified)
- Yogurt (fortified)
- Orange juice (fortified)
It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements can help.