Vitamin D is an essential nutrient your body needs to function normally. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for healthy teeth, bones, calcium absorption and for a healthy immune system. The daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is 600 IU for adults, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, Oregonstate.edu
Food sources of Vitamin D
Good dietary sources of vitamin D are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, milk, dairy products, fortified cereals and orange juice, and egg yolk. One 3-oz. serving of salmon provides almost 600 IU of vitamin D, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin D is soluble to fat and thus, if you eat a higher than the recommended daily dose of vitamin D, the excess is stored in your body.
Besides of the essential role Vitamin D has in maintaining healthy teeth, bones and immune system, Vitamin D may also play a role in preventing some health conditions. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, Vitamin D may reduce bone density loss and development of osteoporosis, reduce risk of various cancers, decrease your risk of developing autoimmune disease and lowering blood pressure and preventing hypertension.
A lack of Vitamin D can lead to vitamin D deficiency, associated with bone and muscle disorders. Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle weakness and pain in both children and adults. In infants and children, who's bones are still growing, Vitamin D deficiency can cause a condition called rickets.
Vitamin D deficiency problems
Rickets involves inadequate bone mineralisation which can lead to weak and deformed bones. Bowed legs can be caused by rickets. In adults, Vitamin D deficiency can cause a condition called osteomalacia. The bones of adults are no longer growing but are in constant state of turnover. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to demineralisation of bone which can cause osteomalacia or osteoporosis.
Your body can also produce Vitamin D in response to sunlight. Vitamin D3, also called cholecalciferol, is synthesised in your skin upon exposure to ultraviolet-B radiation. Thus spending time in the sun can provide you with some of the Vitamin D needed. However, using a sunblock can prevent vitamin D synthesis. When your exposure to UVB radiation is insufficient you will need to get Vitamin D from the diet to avoid deficiency.