When you don’t get enough sun exposure or by any means ‘shun the sun’ you risk yourself of Vitamin D insufficiency that is less than 20 nanograms/millimetre. That later on become D-Deficiency when the level of Vitamin D in your body get lower than 12 nanograms/millimetre.
A limit of 20-50 nanograms/ millimetre of Vitamin D is considered adequate for a healthy person.
Why Do You Need Vitamin D?
- To reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and autoimmune diseases
- To lose weight and overcome the depression.
- To reduce the risk of diabetes and fracture of bones in old age.
- To increase mortality in the elderly. Vitamin D3 is suggested to reduce the risk of death in some studies.
How Do You Develop Vitamin D Deficiency?
1. Exposure To Sunlight
The process of vitamin D production in our body is complex. It all happens when our skin absorbs the ultraviolet B rays when exposed to the sunlight. And staying out of the sun for too long may cause Vitamin D deficiency. For example, wearing long robes during long winters and harsh summers, an occupation that prevents sun exposure deprive us of the most natural source of D-vitamin.
2. Vegetarian diet
A strict vegan diet is the most common reason for vitamin D deficiency in vegetarians. It occurs naturally in animal products like liver oils, fish and egg yolk. But now that science has made things easier for us, we have fortified food that is rich in D-vitamin like dairy and grain products.
3. Skin Color
The melanin in the skin makes skin dark. At a high level, it acts as a sunscreen. While exposure to the sun stimulates the production of vitamin D, a high level of melanin works as a barrier for vitamin D production.
As a result, dark skin people need more sun exposure to generate the same amount as light skin people.
4. Your Weight
There are studies that have correlated a low level of vitamin D with obesity. If you weigh more than a normal person should then you need more of this vitamin included in your diet. Some studies have stated that increasing D vitamin in the diet may help you lose weight. While the deficiency is the common cause of metabolic syndrome and obesity.
5. Age (Matters)
As we age, Body loses its ability to synthesise vitamin D from sun exposure. It is activated in the kidney before it is used by the body and with age kidney also started to function slow. people with age 50 are more at risk of D-deficiency than younger people. They need at least 30 minutes of exposure to the sunlight twice a week preferably to make this vitamin.
6. Underlying Disease
There is a certain medical condition like cystic fibroid, Crohn’s diseases and celiac disease that affect the digestive tract. As a result, the intestine is not able to absorb the Vitamin D from food.
Though it has never been directly related to vitamin D insufficiency, use of sunscreen do block 93-98% of UVB rays depending on the strength of sunscreen you are using. It leaves 2-7% of UVB rays to do their work and that is when you are using your sunscreen perfectly. So, your sunscreen doesn’t play many roles in vitamin deficiency.
Symptoms And Health Risk Of D-Deficiency
- Pain in bones and muscles without any injury.
- Muscle spasms and weakness.
- Severe asthma in children.
- Increased risk of death in older people.
- Bone fracture easily.
- The risk of Cancer.
Where Do You Get Vitamin D?
It’s easy and it’s simple. Don’t neglect the mightier sunshine. And soak in it for 15-20 minutes at least twice a week. Eat food that is fortified with D Vitamin. There are plenty available in the market. You just have to look at the label for it.
The supplement is also available at pharmacies in tablet and powder form. Consult your doctor for the right dose. But before that do a blood test to know the real concentration of Vitamin in your body.
How Much Should You Take?
The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU for everyone over the age of 1-70 that is 15 microgram. And in the older person over 70 who needs it more to optimise bone health is 800 IU that is 20 micrograms.
Like everything has a limit so do vitamins. In general, when taking Vitamin D naturally, the excess amount that the body does not need is excreted from the body. But with supplements, a safer limit is decided for this particular vitamin is 4000 IU.
Food That Is Rich In Vitamin D
- Sunlight (the most natural and free source)
- Soy Chunks/Soy products
- Orange Juice
- Fortified cereals
Other natural resources
- Eggs Yolks
- Fish oil
- Fishes like tuna and salmon
If we go on numbers then 170 grammes of cooked salmon complete your daily requirement that is 600 IU. And 2 Eggs that are fortified with vitamin D are more than sufficient for your daily need.