What is Vitamin D? And why do we need it?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient and one of the most important vitamins which your body needs for many vital processes, including building and maintaining strong bones.
It helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate that is in the body.
These nutrients are needed in order to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
It is a key ingredient as well for a number of different bodily functions, including your immune system, digestive tract, circulatory system, nervous system and cell growth.
Vitamin D is also known as calciferol which comes in 2 basic forms, Vitamin D3 which is cholecalciferol and Vitamin D2 which is ergocalciferol.
How Do We Get Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is made by the body, but not actually in the body on its own, it has to be synthesized, and this is done with the aid of being exposed to sunlight.
In fact when the sun starts to hit your body, vitamin D3 is manufactured, it is then stored in the liver and in turn made available to then be circulated throughout the body as vitamin d, hence why it is often otherwise referred to as the sunshine vitamin.
We should all get at least 10 minutes of direct sunshine on our skin every day in order for us to produce enough Vitamin D internally.
There are however quite a number of people for who this is not always possible, because they do not get enough exposure they will therefore need a supplement or a fortified food, in order for their bodies to get the adequate amounts which are required.
How Much Vitamin D Do We Need?
Vitamin D is generally measured in International Units (IU), and the recommended daily intake is 400 – 600 IU for adults up to the age of 70, and around 800 IU for 70 year olds and above.
In some instances there may be a need to take more, if you have a deficiency or have a condition that requires higher doses of vitamin D.
But bear in mind the maximum upper limit is 4000 IU, and you shouldn’t be taking this much or more without the approval of your doctor.
Taking more than 4000 IU not only goes over and above the safe upper limits, but there is also no evidence to show that amounts this high have any extra significant health benefits.
Where Can You Get Your Vitamin D From?
There are a number of ways to get your daily dose of vitamin D, as I have already mentioned, the main one is totally free and that is from exposure to the sun.
It can also be found in foods such as egg yolks, fortified milk and fatty fish, such as Salmon, Tuna or Mackerel.
You can get it as well in a supplement form, and even a lotion that you can put on your skin.
Remember: That although the sun supplies us with a natural source of vitamin D it is also important to protect yourself with a sunscreen when going out in it.