Vitamin D is a fat soluble essential vitamin that is utilized by the body for bone development, control of cell growth, calcium absorption and assimilation to body tissues. If the body lacks enough Vitamin D, bone development is impaired leading to a disease called rickets. Further decrease of vitamin D weakens the immune system making the body to be prone to infections. On the other hand, if the body has excess vitamin D, it can lead to increased absorption of calcium increasing the risks for heart attacks. The recommended dietary intake of Vitamin D according to experts for individual below the age of 70 is 600 IU (international units). For individuals above the age of 70 their intake should increase to 800 IU as it is highly needed for bone repair. The following article is based on the importance of vitamin D and how to get it.
The Importance of Vitamin D
1. Bone development
One of the roles of vitamin D is to increase calcium absorption from consumed food. Once calcium is absorbed, it is assimilated into bone tissues facilitating growth. This makes the bone stronger.
If there is deficiency of vitamin D especially at childhood, calcium absorption is extremely limited. This leads to bone weakening, fractures and deformity. In addition, if at adulthood there is deficiency of Vitamin D then osteomalacia bone thinning results.
2. Promotes the bodies immune system
Vitamin D is able to protect the body against infectious disease. This is by boosting the immune system. If the level of vitamin D decreases, the body becomes highly prone to diseases such as arthritis, heart attacks and high blood pressure among other infections. New studies have shown that vitamin D may protect the body against Parkinson’s disease.
3. Maintain cognitive functions
Once vitamin D is assimilated within the brain cells especially during early childhood, the brain functionality is highly improved in later life. This is according to a study that was conducted in Europe.
4. More functions of vitamin D
Extensive research has shown that pregnant women need to regularly monitor their vitamin D levels. This is because it has been documented that women with low levels tend to have a risk of still births and giving birth to children who have low bone densities.
Sources of vitamin D
Sunlight is the biggest source of vitamin D. Once the sunlight is absorbed through your skin, the body synthesizes its own vitamin D.
Fruits and vegetables aren’t really good sources of vitamin D but studies have indicated that a plate of mushroom contains 4% recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D. If mushroom is exposed to ultraviolet B light, its dietary allowance drastically increases to more than 40%.
Other sources include fortified soy beverages and fortified orange juice.
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