Vitamin D is required for good health and strong bones. It also helps to absorb calcium and phosphorus in our body, aids in depositing calcium and phosphorus to our bones and helps to regulate the amount of calcium remnants in our blood. Along with calcium, vitamin D helps protect against the loss of bone mass.
There are lot many other purposes of vitamin D in our body. It helps muscles to function, allows the brain and body to communicate through nerves and is required by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Three major sources of this vitamin include the sun, your diet and supplements.
The ‘Sun–Friendly’ Vitamin
Popularly called the “sunshine vitamin”, our body converts sunlight into vitamin D after it hits unprotected skin. But, take care not to expose your skin to sunlight without sunscreen for long hours.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D
Vitamin D-containing foods are very few. Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are among the best sources of vitamin D while beef liver, cheese and egg yolk provide small amounts. Mushrooms may also contain vitamin D when grown under UV lights.
Most of the vitamin D absorbed from our meals is through fortified foods. Not sure about fortified foods and their advantages? Please check the website www.firsteatright.com to study about these special foods. Most milk and cereals are fortified with vitamin D as well as certain types of orange juice, yogurt, cheese and soy beverages. Check the Nutrition Facts label for the presence of vitamin D in the food items you purchase.
Vitamin D Supplements
Certain people, such as senior citizens, breast-fed infants, people with dark skin, those with certain medical conditions including liver disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease and obese people or those who have had gastric bypass surgery may need extra vitamin D. Ensure that you consult your physician/nutritionist before starting on vitamin D supplements.