Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin also known as Calciferol or Cholecalciferol. The amount of vitamin D needed by the body depends on a person’s age. For instance, for men and women who are 19 to 50-years old, the recommended amount of vitamin D intake is 200 IU or 5 ¼g everyday. For men and women who are 51 to 70-years old, the recommended amount of vitamin D intake is 400 IU or 10 ¼g everyday. People who are older than 70 years old are recommended to take in 600 IU or 15 ¼ g of vitamin D everyday. These numbers are based on the assumption that the body is unable to synthesize vitamin C from the sun.
Functions in the Body
Vitamin D is important in maintaining the levels of phosphorus and calcium in the body. Related to this function, this vitamin helps in the healthy formation of teeth and bones. Vitamin D helps strengthen the immune system and assists in healthy cell growth. It also contributes to the healthy development of the fetus in pregnant women. This vitamin helps prevent the occurrence of bone deformities, such as osteomalacia (adults) or rickets (children). It is also said to lower the risk for developing certain cancers.
Vitamin D can be obtained in food sources such as milk and eggs (specifically the yolk). Fatty fishes like cod, tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines are also good sources of vitamin D. Breakfast cereals also are fortified with this vitamin.
An important non-food source of vitamin D is sunlight. The body is able to synthesize vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultra-violet rays.
Health Conditions Said to be Cured By Vitamin D
A high level of vitamin D is said to control inflammation in congestive heart conditions. This was suggested in a study conducted involving 100 patients having congestive heart conditions. After 9 months, those who were given doses of vitamin D had a higher amount of anti-inflammatory agent in their system.
Another research done suggested that taking 1000 IU of vitamin D can possibly reduce the risk of developing cancers of the colon, as well as ovarian and breast cancers. It is also important to note that vitamin D is as important as calcium in avoiding the occurrence of osteoporosis in the body. Because this vitamin is important for the body to absorb calcium, a deficiency would most likely lead to increased risk of developing osteoporosis. In fact, studies have shown that people who lack vitamin D only absorb 10% (at most) of calcium. Thus, even if there is more than enough calcium intake, it will still be insufficient if vitamin D is absent.