You must have heard the importance of minerals and nutrients for the human body; but do you know how much is adequate? Do you know which vitamin you get from what source and how does it exactly benefit you?
Vitamin D is perhaps the most famous member of the Vitamin family. It seems like everyone around is coping to keep their 'D" levels high. Though deficiency tests are seen requested frequently, it somewhere is leading to a misconception that it is just a fad. Talking about Vitamin D today, in reality, it is vital and more than a fad. Well, believe in no WhatsApp forwards. Expert nutritionist Ankita Vaidya has curated all about Vitamin D. Keep reading below. Let's understand each of its elements, right from why they are important to where to get them from.
Vitamin D- A key to living healthy
Commonly understood - A human body produces vitamin D as a response to sun exposure. However, there is more to it.
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and many other biological effects.
The liver and kidneys convert vitamin D (produced in the skin and taken up in the diet), into the active hormone, which is called Calcitriol. Active vitamin D (Calcitriol) helps to increase the amount of calcium the gut can absorb, from the food you eat into the bloodstream preventing calcium loss from the kidneys.
Real Benefits Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for several reasons.
Promotes healthy bones and teeth
Supports immune, brain, and nervous system
Regulates insulin sensitivity
Lowers cholesterol levels
Supports lungs and cardiac health,
Promotes calcium absorption
Where to find Vitamin D?
The Sources -
Needless to state Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin that has been produced on this earth for more than 500 million years, yes, thanks to the Sun! But did you know, during exposure to sunlight 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin absorbs UV B radiation which is converted to pre vitamin D3? This pre vitamin D3 isomerizes into vitamin D3.
Thus, the simplest & most natural way to boost your vitamin D3 levels is to get exposed to the morning sun before 11 am.
Fortified foods like cow’s milk, cheese
Mushrooms treated with U.V light are an excellent source of Vit D.
Fortified milk and cereals
Egg yolk, tuna, salmon, mackerel
If you’re concerned you may not be getting enough vitamin D from your diet, supplements can act as a reliable and consistent source. They’re best consumed in combination with fatty foods and shouldn’t be taken in amounts exceeding the RDI for extended periods.
(RDI is the average daily intake level of a particular nutrient that is likely to meet the nutrient requirements of 97-98% of healthy individuals in a particular life stage or gender group)
Note- The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) a day-
for infants- 1,000 to 1,500 IU
for children 1 to 8 years old- 2,500 to 3,000 IU
for children 9 years and old- 4,000 IU
for adults 19 years and older- 600 IU
for adults >70 years it is 800 IU
For pregnant women- 600 IU
Please make sure you consult a certified Nutritionist or Medical Practitioner before starting any vitamin supplements.
Did you know?
Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood, and deficiencies can be found in all ethnicities and age groups.
What affects Vit D absorption?
There are two effects, some foods/acts aid Vit D absorption while some restrict. Let us look into both of them-
Aids in absorption
Foods rich in magnesium like avocados, nuts, seeds, full-fat dairy products, and eggs are nutritious sources of fat that help boost your vitamin D absorption.
Studies indicate that having vitamin D with a meal rich in essential fatty acids significantly increases the absorption of Vit D.
Our traditional foods such as ghee, makkhan, along with spinach, orange, whole cereals, pulses, and bananas being rich in magnesium, calcium, and Phosphorus, aid in the absorption of Vit D.
Genetic Issues restrict the absorption of Vit D
(To know more about nutrition based on your genetics, refer to this blog- https://www.thenthsense.com/post/7-health-hacks-using-nutrigenomics)
Excess use of sunscreen
Poor lifestyle (going out in the sun after 11AM), consuming processed food, dietary imbalance, also affect the absorption of Vit D in the body
Oral pills like fat loss pills (orlistat), steroids, statins, diuretics, etc.
Dark skin (increases melanin levels)
Deficiency of magnesium and calcium
Cystic fibrosis and celiac diseases
Precursor for hormone production
Liver or kidney disorders
So pair your foods wisely…
What happens when there is excess Vitamin D?
If you have a notion that more the absorption of Vitamin D, more the benefit; that's a wrong notion, my dear. Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.
Now that you know all about Vitamin D3, one of the most important vitamins your body needs, pause and analyze are you consuming/absorbing it enough?
If you find any doubts or need consultation on a diet that is balanced with vitamin D in line with others, get in touch with Nutritionist Ankita Vaidya.
Feel free to ask your queries even here.
Till then, take care and keep a check on the facts you have just read.
Nutrigenomics counsellor, sports nutritionist and Postgraduate in Food Science and Dietetics.