Vitamin D is as the “Sunshine Vitamin” as it is required for sunlight exposed on the skin. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin D works synergistically with vitamin A. It plays a role in absorbing and regulating calcium and phosphorus and deposition in the bones. This vitamin helps the body synthesize protein and helps build strong bones, teeth and skin. Its use of nutrients in the body are for, rickets, fatigue, nervous tension and imperfect bone and defective teeth. vitamin D builds energy, helps absorbs minerals, promote eye health, and nourish the thyroid gland. Vitamin D is absorbed in the small intestines.
It is vital to the health of the nervous system and kidneys. It can be derived from the sun’s action on oils secreted and reabsorbed by the skin. But if skin is tan or older, it is less capable of producing vitamin D. Clinically, vitamin D has been shown to be linked with glucose and insulin homeostasis (Pregled, 2013) . Clinical uses of vitamin D are psoriasis, nearsightedness, arthritis. lockjaw, pregnancy, jaundice osteomalacia (softening of the bones) and Nervousness.
It is necessary for growth, and is especially important for the normal growth and development of bones and teeth in children. It protects against muscle weakness and is involved in regulation of the heartbeat. It also is important in the prevention and treatment of breast and colon cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hypocalcaemia, enhances immunity, and is necessary for thyroid function and normal blood clotting (Balch, 2000).
If you live in the tropics and can expose your unprotected skin to two sessions of 15 minutes of sunlight each week your body will naturally produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. If you live far from the equator, your sunlight exposure will be less during many months of the year. Cloud cover, Smog and Sunscreens are factors that may reduce your body’s vitamin D synthesis.
Natural source of vitamin D is found in yeast and vitamin D occurs in fish liver oil. Butter, eggs, sardines, tuna fish, sunflower seeds and unprocessed, raw milk are foods high in vitamin D.
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), Adequate Intake (AI) estimates the amount of dietary vitamin D required to sustain appropriate blood levels in the absence of sun exposure. The AI for person between 6 months and 50 years of age is 5mcg (200 IU), for adults 51 to 70 is 10 mcg (400 IU) and for those 71 and older it increase to 15 mcg (600 IU), based on their diminishing skin synthesis of vitamin D (Mosley, 2011).
Intestinal disorders and liver and gallbladder malfunctions interfere with the absorption of vitamin D. Some cholesterol-lowing drugs, antacids, mineral oil, and steroid hormones such as cortisone also interfere with absorption. Taking excessive amounts of vitamin D (over 1,000 IU) daily may cause a decrease in bone mass.
It is recommended not to take vitamin D without calcium. Toxicity may result from taking over 65,000 IU of vitamin over a period of two years.
Balch, Phyllis A. & James F, (2002). Prescription for healing, 3rd ed. Penguin Putnam, Publishing, Co.
MNT, Medical News Today, (2013) retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php
Mosby, Elsevier (2011). Williams Essentials of Nutrition & Dietary Therapy, tenth edition. Mosby, Inc.
Voinsanitetski Pregled (2013), Military Medical & Pharmaceutical Journal of Serbia & Montenego.
Written By: Dr. Michelle Butler