Vitamin D Facts

Did you know that Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because our bodies make it from sunlight?  Read on for more Vitamin D facts ...

Vitamin dVitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is required for proper flow of calcium into the bloodstream. There are two common forms of vitamin 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 with exposure to sunlight. Without proper amounts of vitamin D in the body, calcium cannot maintain bone health and degradation of bones may develop leading to health problems and pain.

Vitamin D is essential to the development of strong bones and fontanel closure in infants. If levels are too low, developmental delays in sitting and walking may occur. Older adults also require vitamin D for bone health. With age, bones tend to weaken which is why hip fractures are common in older adults.

Proper amounts of vitamin D can 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 and eel. Whole eggs, beef liver and UV irradiated mushrooms also include natural sources. 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.

Vitamin D facts released by the American Academy of Pediatrics supports a daily intake of 400 IUs per day. The American diet falls somewhere around the 100 IU per day on average, which is the reason why commonly consumed foods are fortified. Supplements are also available to increase vitamin D intake.

New Research

Currently, vitamin D facts pertaining to the upper level recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D are under research. A new report, expected in the spring of 2010, may suggest supplementation up to 10,000 IUs per day is healthy. Currently, however, health officials suggest a total RDA of 400 IUs with an upper limit of 2,000 IUs.

Supplementation of vitamin D comes in the form of tablets or intra-muscular injection. Injections of vitamin D are reserved for people with intestinal absorption problems, such as those recovering from weight loss surgery, and patients with difficulty swallowing.

Vitamin D facts claim that infants and adults over the age of 50 are most commonly affected by deficiency. Fortified infant formulas contain enough vitamin D to prevent deficiency, but breastfeeding mothers need to watch their vitamin D intake in order to protect infants. Older adults require the most vitamin D of any sector of the population. At an RDA of 700 IUs, oral supplementation is required to prevent bone fracture and weakening with age.

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