Vitamin D is a unique vitamin and its availability in the body largely depends on its synthesis in the skin when exposed to sunlight.
Note: It can be synthesized in the body in adequate amounts by simple exposure to bright sunlight even for 5 minutes per day.
Why do you need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphorous that is necessary for growing and maintaining bones and teeth.
What are the sources of Vitamin D?
There are two forms - D2 is found in some foods and D3 is produced within the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Dietary vitamin D2 is found naturally in egg yolk, mackerel, cod and halibut liver oils, salmon and sardines.
How much Vitamin D do you need?
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) says that outdoor physical activity is a means of achieving adequate Vitamin D status. Under situations of minimal exposure to sunlight, a specific recommendation of a daily supplement of 400 IU (10 mcg) is retained by ICMR.
USDA recommends 15 mcg of vitamin D for every age group.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is utilized in our bodies only if we ingest it in combination with dietary fats. It dissolves in fat before being absorbed in the blood stream to carry out its functions. Excesses of fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver. Because they are stored, they are not needed every day in the diet.
Deficiency of vitamin D can lead to a spectrum of bone diseases like rickets, osteoporosis, arthritis etc. Deficiency leads to inadequate mineralization of the growing long bones (rickets in children) or a decrease in the mineral content of the bones (osteomalacia in adults) ending with weakened bones.