Monday, April 2, 2012

Vitamin D Benefits You Should Know

Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, a group of fat-soluble prohormones, which encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. People who are exposed to normal quantities of sunlight do not need vitamin D supplements because sunlight promotes sufficient vitamin D synthesis in the skin. 

What do we need vitamin D for?

  •  Vitamin D prevents osteomalacia and rickets. Osteomalacia, which causes weakness of the muscular system and brittle bones, is most prevalent among adults with vitamin D deficiency. Rickets is a skeletal deformity mostly seen in children with vitamin D deficiency.
  • Vitamin D provides calcium balance in the body that prevents osteoporosis or arthritis.

  • Vitamin D regulates blood pressure, reduces stress and tension, relieves body aches and pains by reducing muscle spasms, reduces respiratory infections, helps in differentiation of the cells, aids in insulin secretion, helps fight depression, improves overall skin health by reducing wrinkles, makes skin soft, strong, and smooth, and improves cardiovascular strength by providing a protective lining for the blood vessels.
  • Vitamin D is recommended in the treatment of several diseases. It may prevent preaclamsia by improving kidney function, cancer by controlling abnormal multiplication of cancer cells, diabetes mellitus by controlling insulin production, hyperparathyroidism by reducing parathyroid numbers, osteomalacia by improving bone and muscle strength, hypophosphatemia by controlling the phosphates in the body, hypocalcaemia by preventing abnormal deposition of calcium, and renal osteodystrophy by regulating calcium content and fibromyalgia.
  • The benefits of vitamin D can be obtained by increasing exposure to sunlight and including vitamin D rich foods into your diet like fish, cod liver oil, milk, and eggs. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also good sources of vitamin D.

Sunlight and vitamin D requirements

If you live in the tropics and can expose your unprotected skin to two sessions of 15 minutes of sunlight each week your body will naturally produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. The following factors may reduce your body's vitamin D synthesis:
  • If you live far from the equator, your sunlight exposure will be less during many months of the year.
  • Cloud cover
  • Smog
  • Sunscreens
If your body cannot produce enough vitamin D because of insufficient sunlight exposure you will need to obtain it from foods and perhaps supplements. Experts say that people with a high risk of vitamin D deficiency should consume 25 μg (1000 IU) of vitamin D each day so that there is a good level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the bloodstream. Elderly people, as well as people with dark skin should consume extra vitamin D for good health. 

How much vitamin D do I need?

The information below relates to people who do not have exposure to sunlight. 

According to the Food Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, which created the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), people should be intaking the following amounts of vitamin D if nothing is being synthesized (no sunlight exposure):
  • Children up to 13 years - 5 mcg (200 IU)
  • 14-18 years - 5 mcg (200 IU)
  • 19-50 years - 5mcg (200 IU)
  • 51-70 years - 10 mcg (400 IU)
  • 71+ years - 15 mcg (600 IU)
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that exclusively or partially breastfed babies should receive supplements of 400 UI per day shortly after birth, and when they are weaned they should consume a minimum of 1,000 mL/day of vitamin D fortified formula or whole milk. Non-breastfed infants consuming less than 1,000 mL/day of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk should receive a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU per day. It also recommends that older children and adolescents who do not get 400 IU per day through vitamin D fortified milk and foods should take a 400 IU vitamin supplement each day.


    Blog Pinger Free Real Time Web Analytics