What exactly is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is uniquely known as the sunshine vitamin. It’s one of the two vitamins that can actually be produced by our bodies. Our body produces vitamin D every time we are exposed to sunlight, and it can also be consumed in food or supplements.
Why is Vitamin D important for our bodies?
Vitamin D is essential for our bodies for numerous reasons: It helps maintain healthy bones and teeth. It supports our immune system and nervous system. It promotes our cardiovascular health, brain and lung function. Studies have shown that sun exposure on your bare skin 2-3 times per week for 5-10 minutes would be sufficient for most people to produce the amount of Vitamin D their bodies need. Yet, it’s important to note that vitamin D tends to break down quickly, therefore, additional intake from either food or supplements would help ensure you always have enough vitamin D in your body.
The recommended intake of Vitamin D according to the U.S. Institutes of Medicine (IOM) is provided below. Vitamin D can be measured in micrograms (mcg) and International Units (IU). One microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU of vitamin D.
Infants 0-12 months – 400 IU (10 mcg).
Children 1-18 years – 600 IU (15 mcg).
Adults to age 70 – 600 IU (15 mcg).
Adults over 70 – 800 IU (20 mcg).
Pregnant or lactating women – 600 IU (15 mcg).
Why as we get older, are we prone to have Vitamin D deficiency?
When we are kids we tend to be exposed to the sun more often, either during school recess, or playing in the park playground or simply outside in our backyards just being a kid and exploring. Therefore, the likelihood that we have Vitamin D deficiency as kids is rare. As adults, our lifestyle tends to change mainly with work and the amount of time we spend out in the sun decreases drastically. Especially if you are living the working-class life, meaning you wake up early, get to work early in the morning and leave work when the sun is going down. This lifestyle prevents you from getting the right amount of sun exposure to produce the necessary amount of Vitamin D that your body needs. If this sounds like your situation, then of course the best alternative would be to take a supplement of Vitamin D or consume foods that can also provide you with Vitamin D.
How do you know if you have Vitamin D Deficiency?
The following symptoms are signs that can help you determine if you are not getting enough Vitamin D. Noticing that you get sick or infected more often. Pain in your bones or back, muscle pain, hair loss, depressed mood, fatigue, and impaired wound healing. Vitamin D deficiency can eventually result in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer’s disease.