Joint Pain? Take Control People who shy away from the sun and who adhere strictly to a vegan diet are at risk for developing vitamin D deficiency. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin belonging to a family of compounds including vitamins D1, D2, and D3. 

The two major forms of vitamin D that are vital to humans are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) which is made naturally by plants and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) which is naturally made by the body when exposed to the sunlight. Both forms of vitamin D are converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is further modified into calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D in the body.

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need Vitamin D Benefits

Vitamin D plays an important role in keeping the bones strong and healthy as it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in the body.

It is also shown to boost the immune system function. Some studies show that vitamin D reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, heart disease, flu, and diabetes. Observational studies reveal that there is an inverse relationship between the vitamin D level in the body and the risk for type 2 diabetes.

A healthy level of vitamin D in the body is also important for healthy cell function. Some research shows that calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D, can help slow down the progression of cancer.

Healthy Level of Vitamin D

Keeping a healthy level of vitamin D in the body is needed in order to maintain healthy body processes and function. The following is the recommended intake of vitamin D:

  1. Infants (0-12 months) - 400 IU or 10 mcg
  2. Children and Teens (1-18 years) - 600 IU or 15 mcg
  3. Adults (up to age 70) - 600 IU or 15 mcg
  4. Adults (over the age of 70) - 800 IU or 20 mcg
  5. Pregnant or lactating women - 600 IU or 15 mcg

Vitamin D can be obtained from various sources. Aside from sun exposure, one can keep a healthy level of vitamin D through consumption of:

  1. Fatty fish: Like the salmon, mackerel, krill, trout, and tuna are among the best sources of vitamin D. Including fatty fish in your diet also provides you with a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Some mushrooms:Like humans, mushrooms can produce vitamin D when exposed to UV light. Mushrooms like the portobello variety are ideal food choices for those who want to get vitamin D without giving up their plant-based diet.
  3. Fortified milk: The amount of vitamin D in milk depends on how much vitamin D is added. So, check on the food label. If you’re not a fan of cow’s milk, you can opt for fortified soy or rice milk.
  4. Eggs: If you’re looking at eggs for sources of vitamin D, then you must eat the whole thing. A single egg yolk provides 40 IU of vitamin D!
  5. Food supplements: Sometimes, we don’t get enough vitamin D foods to meet the daily vitamin D requirement. This is where food supplements come into play. Food supplements like the EverLife Vitamin D3 supplement provides the body with natural source of fat-soluble vitamin. Every soft gel contains 400 IU of vitamin D3.

Insufficient and Too Much Vitamin D

Insufficient vitamin D in the body can lead to a myriad of health problems. It can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Aside from these bone problems, vitamin D deficiency can also lead to metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, cancer, skeletal problems, autoimmune diseases, and infection.

Just like other vitamins, you can’t get as much vitamin D as you want without getting into serious health consequences. Vitamin D toxicity (also called hypervitaminosis D) results from having too much vitamin D in the body. It is a rare condition but a potentially serious one.

One of the consequences of vitamin D toxicity is the buildup of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). This leads to symptoms like poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination, body weakness, and kidney problems.

The body needs vitamin D to keep the bones and tissues healthy as well as maintain normal functioning of the cells. However, too much of it can cause more harm than good. If unsure as to how much to take each day based on your unique condition, then you must consult your doctor.

References:
1. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/vitamin-d-fact-sheet
2. http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d#Overview1
3. http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/vitamin-d-deficiency
4. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php
5. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20504538,00.html
6. http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/article.htm
7. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-d-toxicity/faq-20058108

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