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Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Posted January 2021 by Biodermis
Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins needed for optimal bodily functioning and is understood to relay many health benefits. Our bodies do not create vitamin D on their own; we must attain it through sunlight or the foods that we eat. This is why vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” Most of us will get enough sunlight throughout the year, so we don’t have to worry about taking extra supplements to fulfill our needs. However, if you spend a lot of time indoors or live in an area that doesn’t see much sunlight you may be wondering if your body is getting enough vitamin D.

In this article, we will look at the health benefits of vitamin D and how you can be sure that you are getting sufficient amounts.

Are you getting enough vitamin D?

Vitamin D health benefits

The main function of vitamin D in the body is that it helps regulate the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. These nutrients contribute to muscle, bone, and teeth health. When we don’t get enough vitamin D, children can develop rickets (a condition that causes bone pain) and adults can develop osteomalacia, which causes the bones to soften. While these conditions are very rare, it shows the importance of vitamin D and what can happen when we don’t get enough.

Some studies indicate that vitamin D also has some other benefits that you may not have been aware of. These benefits include the following:

Fights disease – vitamin D is believed to reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and the common flu.

Reduces depression and other mood swings – in one study, researchers found that people who were given vitamin D supplements saw improved mood and decreased depression.

Aids weight loss – some scientists believe that adding vitamin D into your diet can suppress hunger. Another study showed that obese individuals who took daily vitamin D supplements were at a decreased risk for heart disease.

How much vitamin D do I need?

The amount of vitamin D that a person needs is roughly the same throughout the course of one’s life. An infant aged 0-12 months will need 8.5-10 micrograms (one millionth of a gram) each day. Breastfed babies can consume the recommended daily intake of 8.5-10 micrograms a day but is not recommended for babies taking infant formula, which is already fortified with vitamin D. After 1 year of age, a person will need 10 micrograms every day, including pregnant women and people who are deficient in vitamin D. It is estimated that by about April to September, most people will have gotten enough vitamin D from the sun and food for the whole year. However, it is still safe to continue taking the recommended daily dosage during the winter months when the sun is not strong enough to induce vitamin D production in the body.

Some places in the world, such as Utqiagvik in Alaska and Rjukan in Norway get very little sunlight throughout the year. If you live in an area with little to no sunshine, it is highly recommended that you take vitamin D supplements to meet your daily needs. Furthermore, if you spend most of your days indoors or usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin, you may be depriving yourself of vitamin D. It is believed that people with darker skin tones—people with African or South Asian backgrounds—may not metabolize sunlight thoroughly and ,therefore, may be deficient in the sunshine vitamin.

Taking too much vitamin D is likely not going to happen unless you take more than the recommended daily dosage over the course of many years. The reason you don’t want to take too much is because it can cause calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia), which can weaken bones and damage kidneys and the heart. Some people have underlying medical conditions that make taking vitamin D supplements unsafe. If you are unsure about how much to take, or if you should be taking any at all, ask your doctor.


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