The Importance of Vitamin D to our Bone Health
“The Importance of Vit. D to our Bone Health”
Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and muscles. Without Vitamin D, our bodies cannot effectively absorb calcium, which is essential to good bone health. Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.
There are three ways to get vitamin D:
Your skin makes vitamin D in reaction to sunlight and stores it in fat for later use. How much vitamin D your skin can produce depends on time of day, season, latitude, skin pigmentation, age, and other factors. There are many reasons people do not have enough vitamin D. As we age, our skin loses its ability to generate vitamin D. People who live in cities or in institutional settings like nursing homes spend too little time outdoors. Even people who spend time outdoors often use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Sunscreen with an SPF as low as 8 reduces vitamin D production by 95 percent.
Vitamin D in Food
Vitamin D is found in very few foods. Sources include fatty fish like wild-caught mackerel, salmon, and tuna. Vitamin D is added to milk and other dairy products, orange juice, soymilk, and fortified cereals. Check the food label to see if vitamin D has been added to a particular product. One eight-ounce serving of milk usually has 25% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin D. The DV is based on a total daily intake of 400 IU of vitamin D. So, a serving of milk with 25% of the DV of vitamin D contains 100 IU. It is very difficult to get all the vitamin D you need from food alone. Most people must take vitamin D supplements to get enough to support bone health.
Vitamin D Supplements
If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and food, consider taking a supplement. Before adding a vitamin D supplement, check to see if any of the other supplements, multivitamins, or medications you take contain vitamin D. Many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D. There are two types of vitamin D supplements. They are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Both types are good for bone health. Vitamin D supplements can be taken with or without food and the full amount can be taken at one time. While your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, you do not need to take vitamin D at the same time as a calcium supplement. If you need help choosing a vitamin D supplement, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist to recommend one.
How do doctors test Vitamin D levels?
The best way to know a person’s Vitamin D status is to have a blood test which checks the level in the blood. It is important that the correct blood test is done: the “25 hydroxy Vitamin D test” shows the level in the blood from both diet and sunlight. When your doctor knows the exact level of Vitamin D in your bloodstream, he or she can make a more accurate recommendation of how much Vitamin D to take.
Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body. It assists in:
- promoting healthy bones and teeth
- supporting immune, brain, and nervous system health
- regulating insulin levels and supporting diabetes management
- supporting lung function and cardiovascular health
VITAMIN D: VITAL FOR HEALTH
It’s long been known that Vitamin D functions with calcium to keep bones healthy and avoid deformities such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. But it is becoming increasingly clear that it also plays a vital role for our immune system, helping to fight off bacterial, viral and fungal invaders.
Vitamin D appears to boost immunity through several ways, such as helping immune cells to function properly and dampening the inflammatory response. There is even some evidence that it protects against coronavirus. Vitamin D is important for a huge number of functions in the body, from supporting strong and healthy bones to maintaining your immune system. Most of your body’s Vitamin D comes from getting enough sunlight on your skin.
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