Vitamin D is crucial to healthy skin and strong bones. Most often associated with enriched milk, foods high in vitamin D are also available in place of specially enriched foods.
by Summer Banks, a prolific writer and certified medical assistant who has supervised customer support for multiple supplement companies.
Enrichment is used to prevent deficiency of vitamin D in major populations where foods sources may not be prevalent dietary choices. If you don't drink milk or eating foods with vitamin D, are you getting enough vitamin D?
The easiest method of vitamin D supplementation does not involve
foods with vitamin D. The sun reacts with the skin to produce an inert
form of the vitamin. After that inert form undergoes two transformation
processes, the body can utilize the vitamin to regulate calcium levels,
among other functions.
A daily dose of sunlight is often enough to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D. However, with changes in seasonally temperatures and the effect of illness ongoing outdoors may limit direct contact with the sun, some people need supplementation or increased intake of foods with vitamin D in order to prevent Rickets in children or Osteomalacia in adults. Rickets and Osteomalacia present when too little vitamin D is available to the body.
Due to the fact that very few foods supply a natural source of vitamin D, most foods with vitamin D are enriched with a supplemental version of the vitamin. Natural sources include salmon, tuna, mackerel, cheese, eggs and beef liver. One serving of cod liver oil or salmon will supply 100% of the suggested dietary amount of vitamin D.
Recommended dietary intake levels of vitamin D are based on the
prevention of Rickets and Osteomalacia. Children from birth to 50 years
of age are safe as long as they consume 200 IUs (5 mcg) of vitamin D
every day. After the age of 50, an additional 200 IUs (5 mcg) is
suggested. The total recommended dietary intake is increased again by
200 IUs (5 mcg) at the age of 71.
Supplementation of vitamin D is common
in westernized countries. With enriched foods high in vitamin D and
multi-vitamins that contain high levels of vitamin D, there are very
few cases of deficiency today. However, in some cases where exposure to
sunlight is limited and dietary choices do not include enriched foods,
additional vitamin D supplementation is essential to maintain good
health. Many calcium supplements also include vitamin D because the
vitamin is needed to ensure proper absorption of calcium. Calcium
supplementation is crucial to the prevention of osteoporosis in the
latter years of life.
Research has noted extended exposure to sunlight produces more vitamin D than recommended for daily intake. Due to this, researchers are currently evaluating the dietary intake levels and toxic levels of vitamin D. Most supplements contain 400 IUs of vitamin D per serving which is twice the recommended amount for people under the age of 50.
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