Vitamin D is a naturally occurring compound but is not prevalently present in food sources. Sunlight is most important of all sources of vitamin D. The human body gets its dose of Vitamin D through the synthesis that gets triggered by the exposure to sunlight. This vitamin in its generated form is directly not of use; it needs to be broken further down and this process also takes place as a part of the sunlight synthesis. Vitamin D enhances the ability of the body to absorb calcium, thereby strengthening the bones. Apart from this, it also increases the immunity against diseases and helps in cell growth.
The other sources of vitamin D include natural food varieties. The most common foods of vitamin D content are fish and fish liver extracts. All fish varieties provide the vitamin D content that is fit for consumption but Mackerels, Salmons and Tunas have the maximum content.
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Vitamin D is now being touted as a vitamin capable of reducing cancer rates by as much as 60 – 70%, following rigorous scientific studies. This is of special interest to people living in climates where levels of sunshine are low, and for those who are indoors a lot, such as office workers. Vitamin D is an important source of strong bones as well, and is of significance in helping to prevent such diseases as osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, etc. Vitamin D deficiency has also been fingered in a myriad of mental illness causes, but most importantly in work relating to treating depression and Alzheimer’s.
- Understand what vitamin D is. It is a fat soluble vitamin. It is found in certain foods and also is synthesized by our bodies from sunshine. Sunshine is the most important source of vitamin D – the UV rays in sunshine trigger the synthesis in our skin.
- Daily intake amounts are recommended at 200 I.U. daily for birth to 50; 400 I.U. daily for ages 51 to 70; and 600 I.U. daily for over 70. Note that these amounts are considered to be erring on the low side and are likely to be revised shortly. The optimal vitamin D dosage is still debated, with some vitamin D researchers recommend amounts as high as 4,000 I.U./day for adults (from all sources, including supplements and sunlight)