Vitamin D is fat-soluble vitamin that has also been known as “Calciferol”. Vitamin D is only present in food sources and can also be synthesized in our body when obtaining 15-30 minutes of UV rays form sunlight. For some vitamin D may be obtained through fortified foods / beverages or supplements. When you are working towards eating a balanced diet that contains all micronutrients it is important to understand that you should always aim to get you nutrients from regular food supply before considering supplements. If you are failing to meet Vitamin D needs or have an underlying disease that reduced your Vitamin D intake, then a supplement should be considered. Research has shown us that the absorption procsses from food is more abundant than the absorption procsses from supplements. Many people do not know that supplement industry is not regulated. Before considering any supplements, you should always talk to your local dietitian to ensure that it is in your best interest of your health to begin taking one.
Functions of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is and important contributor to help our bodies absorb calcium. Our bodies need the mineral calcium to maintain strong bones, help muscle movement, transport neuron signals, help release hormones, helps move blood vessels, and help carryout other important funcations.1 Vitamin D also increases our bone health to prevent bones from thinning or becoming brittle. In children sufficient amounts of Vitamin D can prevent rickets. In adults sufficient levels of Vitamin D can help prevent osteomalacia and osteoporosis. Other roles that Vitamin D is important for includes reducing inflammation, cell growth, immune function, and glucose metabolism.2
Recommended Intake of Vitamin D
According to the National Institutes of Health the following chart indicates the Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D.2 It is important to hit the Recommend Dietary Allowance (RDA) to allow your body to utilize this vitamin efficiently. Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, your body can store certain amounts of this vitamin in fat cells to be used later.
Food Sources of Vitamin D
Many fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout contain vitamin D. This vitamin can also be retrieved within fish liver oils. Other sources of Vitamin D included beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, chicken breast, and fortified juices / milks and breakfast cereals. Vitamin D is not as abundantly found in our food supply compared to other micronutrients. However, it is important to keep in mind that Vitamin D synthesis can also occur when exposed to sunlight!
Other Facts On Vitamin D
There is research that is still being conducted on if Vitamin D consumption and how it correlates to cancer cases and mortality rates amongst patients. Some research has shown us that Vitamin D can inhibit cancer formation and reduce tumor growth rates.2 However, more research must be done before any conclusion is made. Additional research has also displayed that people with lower levels of Vitamin D are more likely to be overweight. However, this does not prove that Vitamin D is a contributor to weight loss. Groups who are risk for vitamin D inadequacy include : breastfed infants, people with limited sun exposure, people with dark skin, people with limited fat absorption, and people who have had the gastric bypass surgery.
1. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin D. Updated October 9, 2020. Retrieved on March 8, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
2. National Institutes of Health. Calcium. Updated December 6, 2019. Retrieved on March 8, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/