The role of vitamin D is very important for the human body; along with calcium, vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis and improve bone health. The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D however, since people use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, vitamin D deficiency is a problem nowadays.
Role Of Vitamin D
As we already mentioned, vitamin D is vital if we want to avoid bone mass problems that are most common in elderly people and people who have dark skin. Vitamin D maximizes the absorption of calcium, helping to build strong bones and to maintain the health of our teeth.
How Much Vitamin D You Need
The Institute of Medicine created a list of adequate intake of vitamin D for different age groups:
Infants 0-12 months – 400 IU/day
Children 1-18 years – 600 IU/day
Adults 18-69 – 600 IU/day
Adults over 70 – 800 IU/day
Even though children and adults have the same adequate intake of 600 UI/day, the maximum safe upper level varies but before going over the recommended IU/day, you should visit a doctor to see if you need more vitamin D in your body.
Sources Of Vitamin D
Sun is an excellent source of vitamin D however, it is very hard to determine how much sun exposure your body needs in order to produce vitamin D. The risk of skin cancer is also something to take into account before exposing yourself to direct sunlight.
The amount of vitamin D you get from exposing your skin to the sun depends on:
- the time of day: midday sun is best for producing more vitamin D however, this is not something you should do during summer or when the temperature is really high;
- where you live – the closer you live to Equator, the easier it is to produce the necessary dose of vitamin D all year round;
- the color of your skin – pale skin produces vitamin D faster than dark skin;
- the amount of time you expose yourself to direct sunlight.
If you want to know when it is advisable to expose yourself to the sun in order to reach the recommended dose of vitamin D, check with your local doctor.
Getting enough vitamin D from food and having a healthy and balanced diet is very hard however, doctors recommend eating a fortified diet and yogurt, cereals, mushrooms, cheese, eggs and beef that contain small amounts of vitamin D.
Vitamin D Supplements
Taking vitamin D supplements is probably the easiest way to reach the recommended dose of vitamin D without exposing your skin to sun or eating fatty fish. According to most doctors, the best kind of supplement to take is vitamin D3 that comes in a variety of forms – capsules, tablets – and you can take them when you want during the day.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
If you want to avoid having bone problems in the future, it is best to recognize the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency and to go to your doctor when they occur.
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Weight gain
- Poor concentration
- Raised blood pressure
- Bowel movement problems
- Restless sleep