Everyone knows that we need vitamin D, but how much do we know about it? In this article we’re taking an in-depth look at some vitamin D facts.
Vitamin D, or calciferol as it is also known, is a fat-soluble vitamin and pro-hormone. This means that is a precursor to a hormone that is used by the body. The name calciferol refers to its primary function of boosting the deposit of calcium in the bones. There are different forms of the vitamin, of which D2 and D3 are the most important in the human body.
One of the most interesting vitamin D facts is that it’s most well known function is to balance the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body. The absorption of calcium is assisted by the vitamin, building bone density and strength. This means that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, both skeletal diseases.
The most important source of vitamin D is sunlight – the ultraviolet rays trigger the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. In certain geographic areas there are insufficient sunlight during wintertime, and in some cases the modern lifestyle prevents people from getting enough sunlight exposure.
Another source of vitamin D is dietary and supplemental Dietary vitamin sources are fatty fish, fortified food, and fish oils. Mushrooms are the only vegan source of naturally significant levels of vitamin D.
Some interesting vitamin D facts
* Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis, depression, diabetes and obesity, prostate cancer and breast cancer
* Ultraviolet sunlight rays cannot penetrate glass, so your skin will not generate vitamin D if you are getting your sun exposure through a car or office window.
* The use of sunscreens will prevent synthesis of vitamin D by your body. Therefore get some unprotected sun regularly during the cooler hours of he day.
* You cannot overdose on vitamin D by overexposure to the sun: your body will stop manufacturing the vitamin.
* Dietary sources of vitamin D hardly ever provide sufficient vitamin D, even if you use fortified products. Supplementation is almost always necessary in certain areas of the world.
* Kidney and liver problems can prevent your body from activating the vitamin D.
* Fat can prevent the circulation of vitamin D, so obese people need higher levels of supplementation.
Vitamin D facts: some groups of people are more likely to be vitamin D deficient
* Babies that are breastfed and do not get enough sun exposure may suffer a deficiency, which in extreme cases may cause rickets.
* Older people may need more supplementation, as older skin is less efficient.
* A darker skin is less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D.
* Some diseases, e.g. cystic fibrosis, some forms of liver disease, and Crohn’s disease may affect the body’s ability to synthesize and use vitamin D negatively.
In view of these facts, you will agree that it is extremely beneficial to your health to ensure that you have sufficient amounts of this vitamin in your system. As with any supplementation program, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before taking additional vitamins, as although side effects are extremely rare, they may occur.