Vitamin D in your Diet for your Health

September 12, 2011

In this article we will deal with Vitamin D and its role for your health. Vitamin D is part of every diet and every dietary plan since it is a vital vitamin for our health.

Why is Vitamin D important for your Health?

Throughout our life vitamin D is essential for keeping our bones healthy and strong. It is very important for a group of people to get enough vitamin D when their bones are growing or when they contribute to the growing of the bones of others. Such groups are:

  • Pregnant women at any stage
  • Breastfeeding women
  • Babies
  • Young children

Babies need enough vitamin D in their bodies even before they are born and this is why it is essential for pregnant women to drink milk. Without enough vitamin D children can be at risk of developing rickets, a disaster which causes week and badly formed bones mainly due to lack of vitamin D, calcium and phosphate.

As we grow and pass the middle age, lack of vitamin D can lead to osteomalacia ( softening of the bones) and osteoporosis leading to a greater probabilities and risks of broken bones.

Recent research performed by many institutions has shown that vitamin D may have an important role in preventing other health problems too.

How do we get Vitamin D?

There are two sources of vitamin D, one indirect and the other direct. Sunlight is the indirect source and some foods/intakes the direct source of Vitamin D.

Sunlight – indirect source:

It is through sunlight that our bodies make Vitamin D when it is needed. In fact we get most of our vitamin D from the effect of sunlight on our body through our skin. It is UVB that makes vitamin D.  It all depends where the individual lives in order to estimate how much exposure to sunlight is needed so as to get enough vitamin D. Usually about 10-20 minutes of exposure to sunlight is enough for the average person to get its right dosage of Vitamin D. However it should be noted that too much exposure to the sun is not advised since such a prolonged exposure may lead to other consequences and it does increase the risk of skin cancer.

Food – Direct source:

Vitamin D can be found in several foods but it should be noted that is difficult to get the needed by the body vitamin D, just from food. The foods that naturally contain small amounts of vitamin D are:

  • Fish – especially oily fish like salmon and sardines and fresh water trout
  • Eggs and meat

There are other foods that contain vitamin D that is added to them. These foods fall into the following two categories:

  • Margarines – where vitamin D content is indicated on the package
  • Breakfast foods like cereal

Is there a risk of Vitamin D deficiency?

Despite of efforts, to take from foods the needed Vitamin D and the production of this Vitamin by the body though the help of UVB, there still may be a deficiency of Vitamin D in the body. The deficiency appears mainly in the following categories:

  • Retired people of the age of 65 and over
  • The group that needs it most, mainly pregnant ladies and small children
  • People not exposed to sufficient sunlight due to many reasons.

What to do if you have a Vitamin D deficiency?

In case you have Vitamin D deficiency, you should first try to get it through the natural way described earlier, direct sunlight and some foods. Secondly you visit your doctor and under his prescription and supervision take Vitamin D supplements. It goes without saying that the levels of vitamin D and its deficiency should be monitored on a regular basis depending on age and state of health.

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