Vitamin D is different from other essential vitamins because it can be manufactured by your own body if the body is exposed to the sunlight. It is very important as it helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bones. The regular exposure of skin to sunlight promotes sufficient Vitamin D synthesis without the need of the supplements.
Our body needs Vitamin D for following reasons:
- It is an important way to arm the immune system against diseases like common cold.
- To prevent multiple sclerosis.
- It maintains the cognitive functions proper. It keeps the brain working well in later stage of life.
- It reduces the risks of rheumatoid arthritis in women if taken regularly.
- Low levels of Vitamin D may increase the risk of heart attack.
Various other health benefits of Vitamin D are like it prevents asthma, cancer and helps in recovery from TB rapidly. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone softening in older years and can also lead to muscle and bone pain and even diabetes. Besides sunlight it is probably better idea to get Vitamin D from foods or from supplements. It is found in small number of foods. Good food resources of Vitamin D are oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, egg, fortified fat spreads, fortified breakfast cereals salt and powdered milk. It is also found in cod liver oil too.
Vitamin D is available in two forms- Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is always preferred as it is better absorbed when taken by mouth. The factors that can affect your Vitamin D levels are the use of sun screen, your body mass, your skin color and the diet. The results of vitamin D deficiency are catastrophic therefore assessing Vitamin D status is one of the most important health protecting step you can take. Achieving optimal levels of Vitamin D is very simple, inexpensive and highly protective against a range of lethal diseases. Thus Vitamin D intake improves balance in healthy adults and is vital for most of the human functions.
Exposing your body just for ten minutes a day is enough to prevent deficiencies. An average healthy adult thus needs 200 IU’S of Vitamin D a day. So you can get Vitamin D through the skin, from the diet and from supplements. Getting enough Vitamin D is a strategy that helps strengthening of bones at any age and keeps you fit and healthy. It plays a very important role in maintaining the healthy body weight. Other food items which are rich in Vitamin D and which you can consume anytime are margarine, cereals, liver, beef and Swiss cheese. Vitamin D often called as ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ is an important nutrient. People with high Vitamin D live longer.