Vitamin D is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because our bodies use the suns ultra violet rays to produce this essential vitamin. One of the most important roles of vitamin D is maintaining blood levels of calcium. Vitamin D accomplishes this by increasing absorption of calcium from food and reducing urinary calcium loss.
Both of these effects help to keep calcium in the body and preserve the calcium stored in bones. At times vitamin D transfers calcium from the bones into the bloodstream, which can weaken bones if this transfer becomes excessive.
- Improves absorption and utilization of Calcium and Phosphorous
- Required for normal growth and development of bones and teeth
- Important in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis
- Helps maintains a stable nervous system
- May help improve muscle strength
- Enhances immunity
Symptoms of Deficiency
Rickets, tooth decay, softening of the bones, improper healing of fractures, lack of vigor, muscular weakness, poor absorption of calcium
Natural Food Sources
- Fish Oils
- Dairy products fortified with Vitamin D
Most foods are generally low in vitamin D, however exposing your face and arms to the sun is an effective way to get this vitamin.
For more information on the vitamin D content of foods you eat frequently, search the USDA food composition database.
If you live where there is little sunshine, or during winter, a vitamin D supplement may be a good idea.
Most people take 400 IU per day, a safe amount for adults, although some researchers believe that amounts up to 10,000 IU per day are safe.