Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin

Hello sunshine,

Seeing the sun shining up in the sky brightens up our day. Isn’t it?

Its warmth hold us and make us feel happy.

Getting a dose of vitamin D free of cost from nature seems very peaceful.

Yes,it is true.

You can make your own vitamin D (a fat soluble vitamin).

It can be simply done by exposing your body to sun rays (UV-B rays).For that reason,it is called sunshine vitamin.

The best time for exposure is mid of the day.

In this process, first of all,the sunlight converts cholesterol in your skin into vitamin D3. It is then finally converted into its active form (calcitriol) in your body.

But why we are talking about it?Is it so important?

Then, the answer is yes.It plays vital role in human body.


Functions of Vitamin D

  1. It helps in absorption of calcium and phosphorous in the body.
  2. These minerals helps you in developing structure and strength of bones.

Other functions are –

  • Brain development
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Boost immune system
  • Also required for proper functioning of muscles,respiratory and cardiac system.


Factors affecting Vitamin D formation

The amount of vitamin D your skin makes depend upon various factors –

  • Time of sunlight exposure – Usually 15-30 minutes in a day is enough.
  • Season – Either it is summer, winter or any other.
  • Use of sunblocks – Some studies shown that that excessive use of sunscreen creams reduces vitamin D formation.So, it is better not to use sunscreen and have minimal clothing when you expose your body to sunlight.
  • Skin color or pigmentation – It is seen that people having darker color requires more sunlight due to high melanin (pigment) in skin then fairer ones.
  • Place where you live and your lifestyle – The region where you live is either cold (far from equator) or hot (near equator).It also depends upon way of lifestyle you prefer.


Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA’s)

The amount of vitamin D recommended for healthy living depends upon your age.

  • For children up to 12 months – 400 IU (10 micro-grams)
  • For ages 1-70 years – 600 IU (15 micro-grams)
  • Above 70 years of age – 800 IU (20 micro-grams)


Sources of Vitamin D

  • The main source of vitamin D is sunlight.
  • However, there are some dietary sources which naturally contain vitamin D.
  • These are – fatty fish like tuna and salmon,egg yolk and sea foods.
  • Fortified dairy products,breakfast cereals,orange juice and mushrooms can also be consumed.

In some cases, there is need of supplementation.One of the known popular supplement is cod liver oil.It is a excellent source of vitamin D.One teaspoon can fulfill 75% of recommended intake.


Vitamin D deficiency

  • The main reasons behind vitamin D deficiency can be –
  1. Staying indoor
  2. Regular use of sunscreen
  3. Having dark color
  4. Area of living
  5. Way of lifestyle
  • Symptoms include –
  1. Fatigue and tiredness
  2. Prone to infection
  3. Bone and back pain
  4. Depression
  5. Muscular pain
  6. Frequent bone fractures
  • Persistent vitamin D deficiency can result in –
  1. Osteoporosis (porous and weak bones) in adults
  2. Osteomalacia (softening of bones) in elderly people
  3. Rickets (weak and soft bones) in children


Safety and Side-effects

Vitamin D is generally safe when taken in appropriate doses.However taking too much of vitamin D can be harmful.You may suffer from nausea,vomiting,weakness,constipation, poor appetite.


Testing for Vitamin D

Blood test is the only way to know whether you are vitamin D deficient or not.Therefore,you can get blood test at your doctor,or in a lab.Also,you can do it using home test kit.

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