NUTRITION CORNER: The significance of Vitamin D in the human body

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It’s not found in many foods unless they have been fortified. Normally, your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

Vitamin D is required by your body to absorb and utilize calcium, which keeps your bones and teeth strong. A deficiency of vitamin D leads to weakened bones and rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Although sunlight exposure is the main source of vitamin D, the Institute of Medicine has set a daily requirement for dietary vitamin D.

Daily Requirements:

1 to 50 years of age 5 mcg per day

51 to 70 years of age 10 mcg per day

51 to 50 years of age 15 mcg per day

Research studies indicate that having insufficient levels of vitamin D may be correlated with an increased risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and high blood pressure.Vitamin D is found naturally in just a few foods such as oily fish, however milk and breakfast cereals are usually fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for many people, especially during the winter or if you avoid sun exposure. Vitamin D supplementation is often recommended for people who take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis.

Taking vitamin D supplements in large doses for extended periods of time may result in vitamin D toxicity.  However, vitamin D toxicity does not occur from the vitamin D that your body makes when your skin is exposed to the sun.#