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Healthy & Tasty vitamin d foods
Sources of Vitamin D – Sun, Food, and Supplements
vitamin d foods:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” as our body is capable of producing vitamin D in the presence of sunlight.
One of the most important functions of vitamin d foods in the body is that, it is required to absorb calcium. Calcium is required by the body for strengthening bones and teeth and several other crucial functions (1).
Amount of vitamin d foods should have
The units used to measure vitamin D are micrograms (µg) and also International Units (IU). One microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU of vitamin D.
The recommended intakes of vitamin D is 600 IU for adults and for pregnant and lactating women it is 800 IU (3).
Vitamin D deficiency
About 50 percent of the population in the world are affected by insufficiency of vitamin D. It affects people of all ages and ethnicities. This deficiency in vitamin D is mostly because of our lifestyle
- Exposure to sunlight has decreased because most of us are hardly into any outdoor activities
- Environmental conditions such as air pollution which does not allow ultraviolet rays to pass and without these rays our skin cannot make vitamin D.
- Even if we go into the sun, we apply sunscreen lotion which again does not help. But then people are worried about skin cancer, which is also a point which needs to be considered (2).
It has become necessary to intake vitamin d foods and supplements.
Sources of vitamin D
Vitamin D can be provided to the body in three different ways
- It can be made by our skin when exposed to sunlight
- It can be supplied through the diet
- It can be provided by taking supplements
Our skin can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight. People with lighter skin color, that is those who are fairer need just about 10 minutes of direct sun exposure to make adequate quantity of vitamin D. Whereas people with darker skin that is those having more melanin in their skin require more time in the sun to make same amount of vitamin D.
The best time for exposure would be between 11 am to 3 pm and the period of time to expose depends on latitude of the place and pigmentation of the skin (4).
With age the ability to synthesize vitamin D by the skin reduces. Exposure to sun for long durations may lead to early aging of the skin and may also increase the risk of skin cancer (1).
Sources of vitamin d foods include (5)
- Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines
- Foods fortified with vitamin D such as milk, breakfast cereals, fruit juices, bread and others
- Egg yolks
- Organ meats such as liver
- Mushrooms that contain ergosterol which is one of the common vitamin d foods
People can take vitamin D in the form of supplements also. The sources of vitamin d foods are few and sometimes it becomes necessary to get vitamin D via supplements.
Generally traditional multivitamin tablets contain 400 IU of vitamin D but now many brands have increased it to 800 to 1000 IU. Cod liver oil is one of the best sources of vitamin d foods but when taken it high doses it may lead to vitamin A toxicity (2).
Consumption of vitamin d foods are necessary for our wellbeing. Before taking any supplements please talk to your doctor as they will prescribe supplements based on your health status.
- Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health. Vitamins are vital molecules in food 191. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Second Edition. New York and London.
- Nair, R. and Maseeh, A. (2012) Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin, Journal of pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics. Vol. 3 (2).
- Singh, P. (2018) Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency and Comorbidities: A Review, Journal of the Association of Physicians of India. Vol. 66. http://japi.org/january_2018/11_ra_Treatment.pdf
- Harinarayan, C. V., Holick, M. F., Prasad, U. V., Vani, P. S. and Himabindu, G. (2013) Vitamin D status and sun exposure in India, Dermato-endocrinology. Vol. 5 (1).
- Zhang, R. and Naughton, D.P. (2010) Vitamin D in health and disease: Current perspectives, Nutrition Journal. Vol. 9 (65).