What Is Vitamin D For?

Woman Facing the Sun

Have you had your fill of sunshine vitamin for today? If not then get out in the sun, have a long walk and stretch your muscles. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen though!

You are probably wondering what we are talking about, right. Well, “vitamin D”, of course! A little exposure to the sun is what you need to urge your body to make this vitamin. You can also get it by taking the right supplements.

Following is a short guide that will help you understand what vitamin D is and what it is for:

What is Vitamin D?

D Vitamins is a fat-soluble vitamin, which is produced endogenously by the sunlight’s ultraviolet rays. When sunshine hits the skin, it triggers the synthesis of vitamin D and allows the body to develop this from cholesterol.

Additionally, it can consumed directly in the form of supplements but this seldom meets our body’s need. Lastly, while maintaining a balance diet is good for your body, only a few foods offer vitamin D. This is why it is important that you obtain it from sun exposure, supplements, and food.

What Does it do for Your Body

In order to understand, what vitamin D does for your body, let’s have a look at how it works:

Vitamin D undergoes 2 conversion steps before becoming active. First, calcidiol is converted in the liver. Here, it is stored. Second, calcitriol is converted in the kidney. Here, the steroid-hormone (active) form of it is stored. In order to bring forth change in the body cells, calcitriol interacts with VDR (vitamin D receptor). As the vitamin D’s active form binds with the receptor, our genes are turned on or off. The cells affected during this process aid in the buildup of bone health.

How It Promotes Bone Health

We all know that calcium is important for bone health. However, in order for the body to use calcium and convert it for storage, vitamin D is required. Think of it as a lifecycle: if the body is not able to produce vitamin D, calcium is not absorbed, which leads to fractures.

There was a time when scientists assumed that it purely helped with bone health. However, studies have proved that this vitamin also helps in protecting against cancer and strengthening the immune function.

D vitamins requirements differ from person to person. According to a study published in the Oxford Journals, in the Age and Aging issue: deficiency of thisvitamin can cause muscles weakness, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and many more health problems. On the other hand, excess of D Vitamins can cause toxicity, which includes signs of poor appetite, constipation, nausea, vomiting, weight loss and weakness.

Following are the daily recommended amounts of D vitamins by age as advised by National Institutes of Health (NIH):

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth – 12 months 400 IU
Children (1 – 13 years old) 600 IU
Teens (14–18 years old) 600 IU
Senior Adults (19 – 70 years old) 600 IU
Older Adults Above 71 years 800 IU
Breastfeeding and Pregnant Women 600 IU

So now you know what vitamin D is for and how it helps your body. Why not head to the beach this weekend for a tan and a refreshing swim? Summer isn’t yet in full swing, which means you can enjoy the morning sun without the blinding, harmful UV rays. For more informatory articles, visit Healthy Life Home.

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