Sources of Vitamin D

Sources of vitamin D are not as common as some other vitamins, and even though it can be obtained for free, certain individuals can suffer shortages...

dThere are two common sources of the vitamins D, D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is consumed in fortified foods, supplements and milk (in the United States). Vitamin D3 is a naturally occurring vitamin that is created by the skin by exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is required for proper flow of calcium into the bloodstream.  Without sufficient vitamin D to provide the body what it needs, calcium cannot maintain bone health and degradation of bones may develop leading to health problems and pain.

Vitamin D is essential to the formation of strong bones and fontanel closure in infants. If there isn't enouth of this vitamin, developmental is retarded and delays in sitting and walking may occur. Older adults also need vitamin D for healthy bones. With age, bones tend to weaken which is why hip fractures are common in older adults.

 With the correct sources of vitamin D, proper amounts can be consumed which will help maintain bone strength and prevent fracture and osteoporosis. Calcium levels in the bones are directly linked to vitamin D consumption.

Natural Sources

Natural food sources of vitamin D include:

  • cod liver oil
  • herring
  • catfish
  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • sardines
  • tuna
  • eel
  • whole eggs
  • beef liver
  • UV irradiated mushrooms

It is uncommon for humans to consume enough vitamin D naturally due to the limited sources so some westernized countries have started fortifying foods with the fat soluble vitamin. Liquid milk and cereals are the two foods most commonly fortified with additional vitamin D.

Recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics are a daily intake of 400 IUs of vitamin D per day. The  average American's diet includes around 100 IUs per day, which is why commonly consumed foods are fortified with it. Supplements are also available to increase vitamin D intake.

New Research

Currently there is research underway to determine the maximum recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin. A new report is expected to be released in the spring of 2010, and early information suggests that new levels of supplementation up to 10,000 IUs per day may be established instead of the current limit of 2,000 IUs.

Supplementary sources of vitamin D can be in the form of tablets or intra-muscular injection, however, injections are generally reserved for people who are recovering from weight loss surgery or patients with difficulty swallowing and are limited in their intestinal absorption capacity.

Vitamin D  deficiencies are most common among infants and adults over the age of 50. For infants sources of vitamin D are frequently fortified formulas to prevent deficiency, but breastfeeding mothers may need to supplement their vitamin D intake in order to protect infants.

Adults over 50 require the more vitamin D than anyone. At an RDA of 700 IUs, oral supplementation is required to prevent bone fracture and weakening with age.

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