Vitamin D: The Essential Nutrient for Optimal Health

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In the month of September, it is the perfect time to make your favourite pakoras and chai while enjoying the monsoon season. But do you know First week of September is also known as Nutrition Week. In this  Nutrition Week celebration, we focus on the challenges against nutrition in the country. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also plays many other important roles in the body, including regulating inflammation and immune function. Despite its name, vitamin D is not a vitamin but a hormone or prohormone. Vitamin D plays a critical role in many bodily functions.

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A unique aspect of vitamin D as a nutrient is that it can be synthesized by the human body through the action of sunlight. These dual sources of vitamin D make it challenging to develop dietary reference intake values. Vitamin D, also known as calciferol, comprises a group of fat-soluble seco-sterols. The two major forms are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is largely human-made and added to foods, whereas vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is synthesized in the skin of humans from 7-dehydrocholesterol and is also consumed in the diet via the intake of animal-based foods.

The daily intake of 400 IU of vitamin D can prevent nutritional rickets in infants and children.

You can become deficient in vitamin D for different reasons:

  • You don’t get enough vitamin D in your diet
  • You don’t absorb enough vitamin D from food (a malabsorption problem)
  • You don’t get enough exposure to sunlight
  • Your liver or kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form in the body
  • You take medicines that interfere with your body’s ability to convert or absorb vitamin D.

There are a few foods that naturally have some vitamin D:
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, Beef liver, Cheese, Mushrooms, Egg yolks
You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods. You can check the food labels to find out whether a food has vitamin D.

Foods that often have added vitamin D include:
Milk, Breakfast cereals, Orange juice, Other dairy products, such as yogurt, Soy drinks
Vitamin D is in many multivitamins. There are also vitamin D supplements, both in soft gel capsules and in a liquid for babies.

The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age. The recommended amounts, in international units (IU), are: –

  • Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
  • Children 1-13 years: 600 IU
  • Teens 14-18 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 19-70 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU

It’s essential to speak with family Physician, who can offer current knowledge and advice catered to your particular situation and region. They could advise vitamin D testing and propose suitable solutions to deal with any deficits by keeping all the essential nutrients which are required for body.

#Office of dietary supplements – Vitamin D (no date) NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Available at: (Accessed: 26 July 2023).

Always ensure to check with your Doctor / Healthcare / GP before starting with any new medication or therapy.

Take the free Vitamin D Test – Click hereVitamin D Self Examination

2 thoughts on “Vitamin D: The Essential Nutrient for Optimal Health”

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