The Benefits of Vitamin D

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:  

  • Salmon  
  • Sardines  
  • Egg yolk  
  • Shrimp  
  • 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.