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The Amazing Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Mar 27, 2008
If you're seriously interested in mastering your knowledge regarding basic vitamins, then in order to learn more about Vitamin D, you need to research beyond the basics. This informative article takes a closer look at things you must know about Vitamin D.

Now that we've covered those aspects of Vitamin D, let's turn to some of the other factors that need to be considered ... All You Need To Know About Vitamin D.

Many people from cultures around the world talk about exposing babies and children to the sun early in the morning, to get their Vitamins, has a medical base - indeed as shown by the latest medical research - confirming that Vitamin D can indeed be manufactured from sun rays. But there is more to Vitamin D than just being synthesized through the sun.

Like most Vitamins which can be sourced from food, Vitamin D is sourced not only from the UV rays of the sun but also from various food groups. However, a person who wants a free dose of this vitamin can get it by exposing himself to the sun as the latter triggers the synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin.

Vitamin D per se doesn't do wonders for the body (although there are some forms that are active like Calciferol - Solgar Vitamin D3) because it needs to be chemically converted into dihydroxyvitamin D. The conversion is done with the help of the kidneys and the liver. This form of Vitamin D is important as it is responsible for: Improving phosphorus and calcium absorption Is important in the formation of strong bones Synergistic with the other Vitamins and minerals, Vitamin D promotes the mineralization of bones Important in maintenance of a healthy immune system Preventing rickets (for children) Preventing osteomalacia (for adults) Regulates growth of cells

If you want to get a regular important daily dose of Vitamin D, then look for either fortified foods or regular food groups that have meaningful content of this vitamin. Vitamin D can be sourced from the following food sources.

Cooked mackerel and salmon Canned tuna fish and sardines Milk (whether whole milk, reduced fat milk, nonfat milk, or milk fortified with Vitamin D) Margarine fortified with Vitamin D and Cooked beef and liver Cereals fortified with Vitamin Egg yolk (although eating the whole egg is advisable) Swiss cheese Sunlight

Even though sunlight is considered an important source of Vitamin D there are factors that affect the synthesis of this vitamin in the skin like smog, pollution, cloud cover, time of the day when exposed, season and the use of sunscreen (sunscreen with a minimum SPF 8 will inhibit the exposure to UV rays of the sun). Supprisingly, a short 10-minute exposure to the rays of the sun may be enough to allow Vitamin D synthesis but person should apply sunscreen with SPF 15 to protect his skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

Anyone who wants to maintain healthy bones should make sure he gets Adequate Intake of Vitamin D. Here is a guide to the daily requirement of Vitamin D (in International Units or IU) according to age bracket:

Children up to 13 years old-200 IU Men and women who are 14 to 18 years old-200IU Men and women who are 51 to 70 years old-400 IU Men and women who are 71 years of age and older -600 IU Pregnant women 14 to 50 years old-200 IU Lactating women 14 to 50 years old-200 IU

Despite the increasing availability foods containing Vitamin D, deficiency can still occur among all age groups due to a lot of reasons including absorption defects (problem with the kidney resulting to failure in conversion), inadequate diet, lack of sun exposure, and increasing requirement of the Vitamin. Among those who usually experience Vitamin D deficiency are vegetarians, people who are lactose intolerant as well as those with dairy allergies.

Effects of Vitamin D deficiency:

A person who is deficient in Vitamin D can be susceptible to bone-related diseases like: 1. Rickets-This is a disease of the bone which is characterized by deformities in the bones. This occurs when the body fails to mineralize the bone tissues properly due to lack of Vitamin D. Research however shows that this can be reversed with the daily intake of up to 3 teaspoons of cod liver oil - that resurging remedy. The prevalence of Rickets among Americans resulted in the mandatory Vitamin D fortification on milk.

2. Osteomalacia-This is a bone disease identified with adults and is characterized by weak muscles and bones. The problem is that such deficiency can't be easily detected until bone weakness and other bone-related diseases shows up which can take long. Americans who are over 50 years of age are more susceptible to getting this disease because their skin is no longer as efficient in synthesizing Vitamin D. The same goes for their kidneys. Vitamin D supplements are thus recommended for these people.

3. Osteoporosis-Whilst this disease is more identified with lack of calcium resulting to fragile bones, this is also one of the long terms effects of Vitamin D deficiency. A person with enough Vitamin D in his bones will have lesser chances of getting osteoporosis.

If Vitamin D deficiency can result in bone-related diseases, too much intake of Vitamin D can also be a health hazard as it can cause vomiting, nausea, weight loss and constipation. However, a person who relies on the sun for his Vitamin D is safe from toxicity. Those taking in supplements should be careful not to go overboard, and follow the recommendations on the bottle, or from heir health-care provider.

Now you can be a confident expert on Vitamin D. OK, maybe not an expert. But you should have something to bring to the table next time you join a discussion on Vitamin D.
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