The sunshine vitamin or in other way known as vitamin D is one of the most essential vitamins needed for our body. Its deficiency can cause many problems which are interlinked with one another. Here in this blog, we would discuss why it is important for us. There are three ways to get vitamin D, however, it is advisable to go for natural sources of Vitamin D rich foods:
Vitamin D sources
Your skin makes vitamin D from the ultra-violet light (UVB rays) in sunlight. Your body is able to store the vitamin and use it later. The amount of vitamin D your skin makes depends on time of day, season, latitude, skin pigmentation and other factors. Depending on where you live, vitamin D production may decrease or be completely absent during the winter.
Because of concerns about skin cancer, many people stay out of the sun, cover up with clothing and use either sunscreen or sunblock to protect their skin. The use of sunscreen or sunblock is probably the most important factor that limits the ability of the skin to make vitamin D. Even an SPF (sun protection factor) of 8 reduces the production of vitamin D by 95 percent. Because of the cancer risk from the sun, most people need to get vitamin D from other sources, including eating foods rich in vitamin D and taking vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D is naturally available in only a few foods, including fatty fish like wild-caught mackerel, salmon and tuna. Vitamin D is also added to milk and to some brands of other dairy products, orange juice, soymilk and cereals.
It is very difficult to get all the vitamin D you need from food alone. Most people need to take vitamin D supplements to get enough of the nutrient needed for bone health.
If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and food, consider taking a supplement since vitamin d deficiency can cause trouble for your health. But, before adding a vitamin D supplement, check to see if any of the other supplements, multivitamins or medications you take contain vitamin D. Many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D.
There are two types of vitamin D supplements. They are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Both types are good for bone health.
Vitamin D supplements can be taken with or without food. While your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, you do not need to take vitamin D at the same time as a calcium supplement. If you need help choosing a vitamin D supplement, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist to recommend one.
Vitamin D Deficiency: Are You at Risk?
Vitamin D deficiency occurs when you are not getting the recommended level of vitamin D over time. Certain people are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency, including:
- People who spend little time in the sun or those who regularly cover up when outdoors;
- People living in nursing homes or other institutions or who are homebound;
- People with certain medical conditions such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease;
- People taking medicines that affect vitamin D levels such as certain anti-seizure medicines
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