Vitamin D is essential for the development of bones and teeth. Here is information on vitamin D sources.
Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin, plays an important role in calcium deposition in our body. As it encourages calcium deposition, it is also called calciferol. Calciferol exists in different forms like ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3).
Exposure to sunlight is the best source for gaining vitamin D. This vitamin is synthesized in our skin, when exposed to the ultraviolet radiations of the sun. However, the amount of radiation received differ due to climatic changes. Ten minutes exposure to sunlight, at least thrice a week, provides the essential vitamin D. However, exposure to sunlight in cold countries is negligible. Therefore, people in these parts must follow a diet containing vitamin D rich foods.
Functions of Vitamin D
- It plays an important role in skeletal growth and in the formation of bone and teeth.
- Its major function is helping in calcium absorption. If calcium absorption is inadequate, bones become weak, misshapen, and brittle.
- It helps in assimilation of calcium and phosphorous and also maintains their adequate levels in our body.
- The parathyroid hormone regulates calcium and phosphorous concentration in our body. Vitamin D suppresses parathyroid hormone secretion from parathyroid glands, so that excessive calcium is not absorbed in the body.
Foods With Vitamin D
Milk: Good amount of vitamin D is found in milk. Almost all the milk supplied in the United States is fortified with vitamin D. One cup of milk daily provides the required amount of this vitamin.
Fatty Fish: All fatty fish like mackerel, sardines, tuna, herring, salmon are excellent sources of vitamin D.
Cod Liver Oil: The supplement obtained from cod fish contains high levels of vitamin D.
Eggs: Whole egg, especially egg yolk, is also a good source.
Vegetarians also have some options of vitamin-rich sources.
- Cow’s milk and soy milk.
- Vitamin D-fortified cheese and margarine
- Vitamin-fortified cereals and juices
- Fortified bread
In some countries, providing vitamin D-fortified margarine, milk or cereals is mandatory for the food industry. This helps in minimizing deficiency diseases.
Diseases related to Vitamin D
It must be noted that excessive intake of vitamin D is harmful. It can lead to nausea, anorexia (loss of appetite), and vomiting. It affects the kidney, causing polydipsia (excessive thirst) or polyuria (excessive urine). Vitamin D overdose can cause kidney stones or even complete kidney failure (renal failure).
People avoiding sunlight (in Middle Eastern countries) and people living in cold countries are usually found to be deficient in vitamin D. The deficiency causes a disease known as rickets in children, wherein obstructed growth and deformity of long bones is observed. In adults, it causes osteomalacia (softening or thinning of bones, due to lack of calcium) or osteoporosis (loss of bony tissue, due to deficiency of calcium). Sometimes, liver or kidney disorders or dental caries are also seen.
Deficiency diseases can be prevented by having an adequate intake of vitamin D. Hence, it is very essential to follow a balanced diet, to maintain proper amount of vitamin D in our body. Lastly, it is recommended to make changes in the diet and consume supplements only after consulting the doctor.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical professional.