Vitamin D comes from sunlight, food, and supplements. The best source of vitamin D is the sun! In a nutshell, a series of chemical reactions occur when the sun hits the skin, where it becomes vitamin D. Beneath the skin, vitamin D again undergoes a series of chemical reactions, deeper into the body, where it becomes more concentrated.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, allowing for a specific type of conduction between molecular exchanges.
Vitamin D is an important part of bone metabolism, so intrinsic to the process that it is also classified as a hormone. Primarily, vitamin D is part of the mineral homeostasis system, regulating calcium absorption in bone.
More recently, vitamin D has been found to have a sentinel role in the immune system, activated by immune cells in response to infection, as well as cytokines, substances present in the inflammatory response.
Extra vitamin D is stored in the adipose (fat) tissue of the body. Vitamin D is also a hormone, because of its intricate relationship in mineral homeostasis and bone metabolism.
We can eat a certain amount of vitamin D: cold-water fish, dairy, and produce are good sources of vitamin D. Some examples are cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon, leafy green vegetables, fortified milk, egg yolks, and butter.
You don’t want to overdo a good thing: excess amounts can lead to digestive upset, vomiting, muscle weakness, the development of kidney stones, and at later stages, calcium deposits in soft tissue.
Vitamin D deficiency contributes to osteoporosis in adults and to rickets in children. While the bones are the main focus of vitamin D, problems with the muscles and teeth may also be the result of a deficiency.
The recommended dosage of vitamin D:
- Adult maximum: 2000 IU
- Pregnancy: 200 IU
- Lactation: 200 IU
- Children maximum: 1000 IU
- Birth to 50 months: 200 IU
- 51-70 years: 400 IU
- 70 years and older: 600 IU
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