Ever lost in the thoughts thinking if you could find that ‘one’ source which can take all your health problems away??!! Well, one “wonder pill” that is capable of doing that is naturally available sunlight which is an abundant source of Vitamin D. Though, some of us might complain the risk of premature ageing and skin cancer that comes with the exposure to sunlight, but if taken adequately, Vit D can solve many of your physical/mental problems, yeah! right…mental too as Vit D deficiency has been linked to causing depression too. So, in today’s health section, we will discuss all about Vitamin D, a deficiency most common these days, yet little we know about it!
What is Vitamin D?
One vitamin that our body is able to make when exposed to the sun, and hence, for the right reasons, is also known as ‘sunshine’ vitamin. Since, its a fat soluble vitamin, it dissolves in fat/oil in the body and can be stored for a long period of time.
There are two main forms of Vitamin D:
Why does our body need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium and thereby, maintaining strong bones and teeth. So even if you’re taking in enough calcium, it could be going to waste if you’re deficient in vitamin D.
Some researches have also been linked to the benefits of Vitamin D in fighting infections, reducing heart diseases. preventing diabetes and some type of cancers, however, still more research is going on to fully understand the role of Vitamin D in these conditions.
Benefits of Vitamin D
- Improves Bone Health
- Boosts immunity
- Improves Muscle Strength
- Reduces the risk of heart diseases
- Brain development
Sources of Vitamin D
Sunshine is the best and natural source for Vitamin D. Few things to keep in mind:
- You need to expose a large part of your body, just face and hands will produce much less Vitamin D.
- Staying behind glass, or using a sunscreen will produce very less Vitamin D or maybe none at all.
- Sunshine is necessary but sunburns can cause a risk of premature ageing and skin cancer so do not think of not using a sunscreen at all. You can consider going in the sun without sunscreen for few minutes (depending on the sensitivity of your body) and then apply sunscreen before the body starts burning. Since, not many people have access to sun all year around, we need to fulfill our D needs with food and supplements.
[Read: How to choose your sunscreen]
- Food Sources
- Natural sources include egg yolks, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna. Some rare mushrooms also contain Vitamin D.
- Dairy products, cereals and infant formulas are often fortified with Vitamin D.
- One really good source of Vitamin D is cod fish liver oil, containing about twice the daily requirement in a single spoon.
Food doesn’t provide enough Vitamin D for most adults, and due to the busy lifestyle and maybe the weather conditions, it’s sometimes difficult to get enough sun exposure. That leaves supplements. Vitamin D supplements are one of the most common recommendations precisely because Vitamin D is so important and so hard to get.
You must speak to your health care professional or dietitian to get your levels checked and the recommended dosage.
Go outside and get some sunshine!