Welcome to the world of Sunshine Vitamin- Benefits and Pitfalls of Vitamin D

I am seeing nowadays, a lot of people with Vitamin D deficiency. Before, I go any further with the article; people need to be apprised about what is Vitamin D. Why it’s so important for our well being and how to prevent this deficiency from happening??

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamins are very essential for the proper functioning of the body. Like other Vitamins, Vitamin D is also very essential for good health. Vitamins are classified into water soluble and fat soluble. Water-soluble is Vitamin B and Vitamin C. Fat soluble Vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E and K. Vitamin D is called fat-soluble because it gets stored in our fat tissues and is there for long time, unlike the water-soluble Vitamins which would get dissolved in water and are not stored in the body. There are two types of Vitamin D – Vitamin D2 and D3.

How to get Vitamin D naturally?

Vitamin D has this unique ability to get generated when your skin is exposed to sunlight. When your skin is exposed to sunlight then Vitamin D will be converted to Activated Vitamin D, also known as “Calciferol”. To get the right amount of Vitamin D from sunlight, it depends on many factors, like which time you are exposing yourself, the color of your skin and which part of the earth we are residing.

Best Time to Expose Your Skin for Good Amount of Vitamin D

Sun rays have three different types of UV radiations – UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVB is important for the synthesis of Vitamin D in our body. The 7 DCH (7-Dehydrocholesterol) that is present in our skin absorbs UVB radiation and gets converted into Vitamin D. The morning sun is always good for that good amount of Vitamin D synthesis.

Skin Tone Linked to Vitamin D Synthesis

People with darker skin tone need to spend more time under the sun compared to people with lighter skin tone. People with darker skin tone have a pigment called “Eumelanin”, which acts as a protective layer against the Ultraviolet exposure, so the people with darker skin tone need to spend more time under the sun to get adequate synthesis of Vitamin D as compared to people with lighter skin tone, which have pigment “Pheomelanin”.

Geographic Location Linked with Vitamin D Synthesis

As we are aware that Sun’s rays are the triggering factor in synthesizing of Vitamin D, people residing at higher latitudes are subjected to weaker UVB rays than people staying near the equator.

So, people who stay near the equator will have higher levels of Vitamin D compared to people staying at higher altitudes.

The Benefits of Vitamin D?

Like, all other Vitamins – A, B, C, E, and K. Vitamin D is very much essential for proper body functioning. Vitamin D helps to absorb Calcium and Phosphorus, thus promoting normal development of bones and also it helps us to fight against diseases by improving our immune system. Regulates insulin level, thus helps to fight against diabetes. It helps the proper functioning of lungs and heart and also inhibits cancerous cell growth. It also is a mood elevator.

How do get Vitamin D from the daily dose of food?

Besides, a regular dose of Sunlight, include these below-mentioned foods which are rich in Vitamin D.

  • Salmon
  • Herring and Sardines
  • Cod Liver Oil – Excellent supplement for Vitamin D for people who don’t consume fish.
  • Fortified Foods
  • Egg Yolks
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Mushrooms
 Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Bone and Back Pain
  • Depression
  • Hair Loss
  • Getting Sick Often
  • Gut Problems
Vitamin D Supplements – How Beneficial Are they?

Supplements are only good if you are at high risk of deficiency. But generally, if you are having a good and balanced diet, then supplements are not required so much. The benefits of supplements instead of a healthy diet are much debated but I feel the natural source of milking out the Vitamins and Minerals is from a balanced and proper diet.

As per the survey, Vitamin D supplements won’t prevent fractures and improve bone mineral density. Nor it has been proved that taking Vitamin D supplements would make you live longer without any complications.

But definitely, people who are not getting properly balanced diet or people who are at higher risk of deficiency can make use of these supplements.

This topic is very much debated still, I generally recommend people to go for naturally balanced diet, which has loads of Vitamins and Minerals that our body needs.

But again, we need to be very clear in our mind that excessive usage of Vitamin D is also not good, it would lead to masking of its benefits and lead to “Hypercalcemia” – A condition in which level of calcium increases drastically thus getting deposited in arteries or soft tissues.

So, we need to understand that these supplements can’t replace our diet, and should be taken in moderation. Excess of anything is not good for health.

When you are consuming these supplements, we need to keep these few things in mind:-

  • Always prefer natural diet over supplements.

Sunlight is available in abundance, so get your daily dose of Vitamin D from Morning Sun. Also go for Fortified foods, cheese, mushroom, fatty fish, etc.

  • Don’t Abuse the Supplement Intake.

Always go for the recommended dose, don’t overdo, it would not help you. Rather an excessive intake of supplements would do more harm than good. Recommended Vitamin D intake is 400-800 IU/Day.

  • Always take the advice of the doctor

Before popping in these pills, always consult a doctor to get the actual dose that is required for your body.

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