Vitamin D, also known as the sun vitamin, is an essential nutrient. Unfortunately, not everyone is getting enough and this can lead to some diseases. That’s why we’ve put together a quick question and answer about vitamin D and its functions.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient found in fish oils, dairy products, egg yolks, and some other foods. Your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunshine.
Why do i need it?
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium so it can build strong bones. However, research shows that this tiny but powerful vitamin may contain more.
One study found that vitamin D could prevent a type of dizziness called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. A normal vitamin D level could protect against some types of cancer, reports another study. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that older patients with normal vitamin D levels can walk better after a hip fracture. Vitamin D may even prevent infection from COVID-19, reports this study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?
The amount of vitamin D you may need varies based on your age. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults 19 to 70 years of age is 600 IU daily. For adults over 70 years of age, the recommended daily dose is 800 IU. In general, vitamin D levels in the blood should be between 30 nmol / l and 125 nmol / l, but a level of at least 50 nmol / l is considered healthy for most people viewed.
The National Institutes of Health reports that almost no one in the US has vitamin D levels that are considered too high, but some Americans have vitamin D levels that are too low. The older a person gets, the more vitamin D is needed to maintain normal levels. Breastfeeding babies may need a vitamin D supplement because breast milk does not provide enough nutrients. People who do not absorb nutrients well, such as people with celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, or people who are overweight or have had gastric bypass surgery, are at risk of low vitamin D levels and may need supplementation. People who follow a vegan diet may not get enough vitamin D.
Where can I get vitamin D?
Some foods contain vitamin D such as fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, mushrooms, and milk. Some processed foods, such as orange juice and cereals, contain vitamin D. When you expose your skin to the sun, your body makes vitamin D, but it won’t work if you sit in a window or if it’s cloudy. Too much sun exposure can also increase your risk of skin cancer. So remember to limit your time in the sun and put on protective clothing and sunscreen if you are going to be out for more than a few minutes. Tanning beds seem like a good option, but they can also cause skin cancer and are not recommended.
The two forms of vitamin D.
Vitamin D comes in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 comes from plants and is found in fortified foods. Vitamin D3 is found in animal products and is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. If your doctor recommends taking a dietary supplement, be sure to ask which form your doctor prefers.
What if i don’t get enough?
Children who don’t get enough vitamin D can develop rickets, a condition in which the bones do not harden, resulting in deformed bones. Adults who don’t get enough vitamin D can develop osteomalacia, a softening of the bones. However, this condition is reversible when vitamin D levels are raised to normal levels.
What if i get too much vitamin D?
You can’t usually get too much vitamin D from food or sun exposure. If you take too much vitamin D, it can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Vitamin D increases the amount of calcium in your blood, and too much calcium in your body can cause kidney or heart damage. It’s important to ask your doctor to measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood to make sure you’re getting enough, not too much.
Can I take vitamin D with my other medicines?
Vitamin D can interact with certain drugs. You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplement, including vitamin D.