Vitamin D: What You Need To Know

vitamin dVitamin D has been a lot in the news lately. Apparently we’re not getting enough vitamin D, but what is Vitamin D and what does it do?

Vitamin D is necessary for maintaining bone health by helping your body use calcium. Recently, vitamin D has been shown to help prevent numerous health issues. It is very important to get your daily value to maintain a healthy level of the vitamin. If you do not receive enough within your daily diet, you can develop a vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency can cause many problems and the symptoms can be quite severe.

The Benefits of Vitamin D
The benefits of vitamin D are numerous. It is not only an essential part of life, but it helps prevent many harmful conditions and diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and glucose intolerance. Vitamin D also plays a part in the treatment of many illnesses. In addition, it has been known to help with depression and help prevent cancer. The most common benefit is stronger bones. Though it is not as well known, vitamin D can help you lose weight. Because of its beneficial capacity, the lack of it can be very harmful, meaning if you do not possess enough of it, your body will suffer.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
If you have a vitamin D deficiency, the symptoms can be dangerous to your health. Many of them are subtle, but there are a few that are very noticeable. Some of the most common symptoms are bone pain, muscle weakness, asthma in children, and increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to cancer. Another harmful reaction to the deficiency is softer bones. There are many reasons that one person can acquire a deficiency in vitamin D and by knowing these reasons, you will be better prepared to keep yourself healthy. Some of the leading causes of a vitamin D deficiency are not consuming enough foods with the vitamin, not enough exposure to sunlight, dark skin, obesity, and that your kidneys are unable to convert it into its active form.

Can Too Much vitamin D Be Harmful?
It is best to not go over the daily limit (above 4,000 IU a day) Side effects of too much vitamin D include poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation and in extreme cases kidney damage. Some studies suggests too much vitamin D might cause pancreatic cancer, but more research is needed.

How Much Vitamin D do you need?
The amount of vitamin D you require generally depends on your age and health. Both the Institute of Medicine (IoM) and the Food and Nutrition board recommend the following allowances for Vitamin D:

Birth to 12 months        400 IU
People 1–70 years        600 IU
Adults 71 years and older    800 IU
Pregnant/lactating women    600 IU

Natural Sources of Vitamin D
There are not many natural sources for vitamin D. Sunlight is the most important one, so get out in the sun for 10-20 minutes a day if you can. Foods high in vitamin D include:

-oily fish like catfish, salmon, mackerel, sardines (canned in oil) and tuna
-Eggs, beef liver and cheese
-Mushrooms like shitake (dried)and portabella (exposed to uv light)
-Foods fortified with vitamin d like cereals, margarine, yoghurt and milk
– cod liver oil

Of course you can take vitamin D supplements (d2 and d3) Make sure you choose a high quality supplement

It is very important to ensure that you are getting the recommended amount of vitamin D in your diet. The benefits of it are great, and the harm it can do to you if you do not get enough, can be severe. Simply add in foods that have this vitamin into your diet and take supplements if necessary. Remember, vitamin D is essential for a healthy lifestyle and can prevent many harmful diseases.

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