Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a new lifestyle problem these days. It is a common problem among older adults and people who do not get much exposure to sunlight. Since our school days, we have been studying that sunlight is a rich source of vitamin D but, the fact is our body produces vitamin D with the help of sunlight through the
process of synthesization.Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a major health problem because of the sedentary lifestyle. However, lifestyle is not the only reason to blame for this increasing health problem. Lack of vitamin D in the diet, not getting enough exposure to sunlight, having dark skin and obesity are some of the reasons for vitamin D deficiency.

Read Also: Benefits of Vitamin C

Here are some facts you should know about Vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D is fat-soluble vitamin found in yogurt, cereals, cheese and juice. There are very few dietary sources of vitamin D (especially for vegetarians).
  • Vitamin D is essential for the body in order to absorb calcium and phosphorus we get from the food
    we eat. It helps in building and maintaining bones; protects against bone loss and osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin D assists immune system to fight against bacteria and viruses.
  • Research suggests that optimum levels of vitamin D helps in protecting the body from getting 16 different types of cancers like- lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, pancreatic cancer and more.
  • The rich sources of vitamin D are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
  • Beef liver and egg yolks provide small amounts of vitamin D to the body but still can help people who are allergic to eating fish.
  • Skin exposed to sunlight indoors through a window does not produce vitamin D. Also, cloudy day and shade cut down the amounts of vitamin D skin makes.
  • People with dark skin tone needs 20-30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people, to generate the same amounts of vitamin D.
  • Though the optimum level of vitamin D protects one from getting cancer, but some research studies shows that high level of vitamin D increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • High level of vitamin D in the body can cause nausea, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, weakness, and constipation. It can also damage kidneys and cause a problem with heart rhythm.
  • People with low vitamin D level are prescribed supplements by the doctor to fulfill the deficient requirement.
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight does not cause vitamin D poisoning because the body limits the amount of this vitamin it produces.
  • Use sunscreen lotion or cover your skin with cloth when you are going to spend long hours in sunlight. Excessive exposure to direct sunlight may cause sunburn or skin cancer.
  • Build up your skin’s sunlight tolerance by slow and gradual exposure to the sun. Spend 15-20 minutes in sunlight 2 to 4 times a week with unprotected skin.

Also, Read: Surprising Benefits of eating Almonds

The optimum levels of Vitamin D

The average needs of vitamin D recommended by Food and Nutrition Board for different age groups are listed below:

 

Life
Stage
Recommended
Amount
Birth
to 12 months
400
IU
Children
1 – 13 years
600
IU
Teens
14 – 18 years
600
IU
Adults
19 – 70 years
600
IU
Adults
71 years and above
800
IU

IU: International UnitsTo test the vitamin D levelsThe vitamin D levels in the body can be measured by testing the blood levels in the form of 25-hydroxy vitamin D. Levels are described in either nanomole per liter or nanograms per milliliter.

The safe upper limit for vitamin D is 1,000 to 1,500 IU/day for infants, 2,500 to 3,000 IU/day for children 1-8
years, and 4,000 IU/day for children 9 years and older, adults.
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