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Sources of vitamin D.

The Best Source Of Vitamin D

sources of vitamin d

1. What is vitamin D

Vitamin D (also referred to as “calciferol”) is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in a few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal bone mineralization and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany (involuntary contraction of muscles, leading to cramps and spasms).

If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegan diet, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It also occurs naturally in a few foods including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks, and in fortified dairy and grain products.

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn't properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities.

2. Symptoms and Health Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency.

Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet, even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:

  • Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Cognitive impairment in older adults
  • Severe asthma in children
  • Cancer
vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of many different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

3. Sources of vitamin D.

  • From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.
  • The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors.
  • But between October and early March, we do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight. Read more about vitamin D and sunlight.
  • Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.

Sources include:

  • Oily Fish – Such As Salmon, Sardines, Herring, And Mackerel.
  • Red Meat.
  • Liver.
  • Egg Yolks.
  • Fortified Foods – Such As Some Fat Spreads And Breakfast Cereals.
  • Another Source Of Vitamin D Is Dietary Supplements.

4. How much vitamin D do I need?

From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin. The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in micrograms (mcg) and International Units (IU):

Life StageRecommended AmountBirth to 12 months 10 mcg (400 IU):

  • Children 1–13 years 15 mcg (600 IU).
  • Teens 14–18 years 15 mcg (600 IU).
  • Adults 19–70 years 15 mcg (600 IU).
  • Adults 71 years and older 20 mcg (800 IU).
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding teens and women 15 mcg (600 IU).

A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg).

Sometimes the amount of vitamin D is expressed as International Units (IU). 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So 10 micrograms of vitamin D is equal to 400 IU.

5. Should I take a vitamin D supplement?

Advice for adults and children over 4 years old:
  • During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.
  • But since it's difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.
  • Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can make all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet.
  • You may choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.

6. What happens if I don’t get enough vitamin D?

In children, vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, a disease in which the bones become soft, weak, deformed, and painful. In teens and adults, vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia, a disorder that causes bone pain and muscle weakness.