Naturally, Vitamin D is actually a type of hormone. It is produced by the body for specific reasons. Unlike Vitamin C and Vitamin A, the body is able to produce this vitamin itself although there are situations where supplements are needed. There are actually 5 types of Vitamin D which are D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5 where D2 and D3 are the most common ones.
Vitamin D is usually obtained from sunlight which is why you are always encouraged to go under the sun so that your skin absorbs enough ultraviolet light to produce enough Vitamin D. However, there are many food sources that are known to contain Vitamin D which is needed by your body. Marine oils and lanolin are among the common supplements known to provide Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. Fish oil from salmon and sardine are known for high contents of Vitamin D3 while other known sources include egg yolk and shrimps. While it is good to have enough Vitamin D in the body, taking too much egg yolk or shrimps could be quite risky as they are known to have high cholesterol. Another source is from sunlight from 7am to 10am(3 hours).
What is it used for?
The body needs Vitamin D for several reasons. The most significant reason is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus within the body. This is an important function as it helps in maintaining the body’s immune system. In fact, Vitamin D is very important in ensuring that the bones and teeth develop well.
How long should you spend in the sun?
If you think that spending time under the sun for the longest time possible will avoid Vitamin D deficiency, then you are gravely wrong. This is actually a very tricky situation because it differs among everyone. The idea behind this is to allow your skin to absorb and make enough vitamin D for your body.
The rule of thumb here is to see how dark your skin is or how easily your get sunburnt while you need to be aware of the intensity of the sunlight. In countries like Malaysia, sunlight is quite moderate which means you can spend quite a lot of time under the sun without any fear. It has been found that the best time to absorb sunlight in Malaysia is between 11.00am and 2.00pm while scientist has recommended not exceeding 15 minutes in every session.
Why would you lack vitamin D?
When a person has dark skin, they have more melanin which can reduce the ability of the skin to make vitamin D even when he is exposed directly under the sun. Meanwhile, the regular diet of a person can cause vitamin D deficiency as well. Most foods that are rich with Vitamin D are animal based like dairy foods. Vegetarians would be the high-risk groups of vitamin D deficiency.
However, the most common cause of vitamin D deficiency could be due to personal choice. People today have become so comfortable within their own air-conditioned rooms and homes that they do not want to be exposed to sunlight. In the modern society and fast-moving culture, people are spending more hours working in offices and corporate spaces. As such, they are not exposed to the sun enough while spending the remaining hours at home away from the stress to rest and relax.
Vitamin D Deficiency Related Diseases
There are a list of diseases and conditions resulting from Vitamin D deficiency and this includes the likes of osteoporosis, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension as well as many types of allergies. Besides that it has been linked to inflammation which can be very detrimental to the immune system. Click here to check out the Top 6 Diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency.
What to do if you have a vitamin D deficiency?
The first thing you should do if you have Vitamin D deficiency is to seek medical treatment and help. Your family physician will be the best person to help you with this condition. In most cases, you will need to take a blood test to determine the seriousness of this situation. Your doctor will most likely advise you to spend more time under the sun or prescribe a supplement to replenish the levels of this nutrient in your body.
Recommended dosage for Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be easily soured from sunlight but not because not everyone loves the sun, taking supplements would help in ensuring the body has enough of this vitamin to help in building bone density and other benefits. A normal adult will need 15mcg and not exceeding 50mcg of vitamin D daily.