The body produces vitamin D. This is as a response to sun exposure. This vitamin can also be taken in through food or supplements. (Later in this article, we’ll chat about which foods are rich in Vitamin D.)
What Does Vitamin D Do?
Experts are studying vitamin D for its potential links to several diseases and medical problems. These include diabetes, hypertension and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
Many people (mostly women, but men too in older age) develop – or are at risk of – osteoporosis.
This disease is an ailment in which bones become brittle and may break if the person falls. Contracting osteoporosis is one consequence of not getting enough calcium and vitamin D over one’s lifespan.
Vitamin D3 and calcium may reduce the risk of bone loss and fractures in older adults. (These people are aged between 62 and 85.) M
Other investigations propose that vitamin D may guard against colon cancer. This is in addition to even cancers of the prostate and breast. However, increased levels of vitamin D in the blood have also been linked to higher rates of pancreatic cancer.
At this time, it’s too soon to say that low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of cancer. Also, it’s not possible to tell if higher levels of vitamin D protect against – or even progress – risk in some people.
Why Is Vitamin D Essential for the Absorption of Calcium
Vitamin D has several roles in the body. These include the modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and the reduction of inflammation. Many genes – which encode proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis – are modulated partly by vitamin D.
Vitamin D promotes calcium being absorbed in the gut. It controls adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations. This enables normal mineralisation of bone. Besides, it prevents hypocalcaemia tetany. It is also required for bone growth and bone remodelling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts.
Without enough vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D, in adequate quantities, prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. With calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.
How Can I Get My RDA of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is often mentioned as “the sunshine vitamin”. The reason for this is that the sun is one of the best sources of this vitamin.
Your skin hosts a type of cholesterol which works as a precursor to vitamin D. This compound becomes vitamin D when it is exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun.
Sun-derived vitamin D (vitamin D may also be consumed in food) may circulate for double the amount of time as vitamin D from food or supplements. But, the amount of vitamin D your body can make is dependent on several variables.
Skin tone and age
People who have darker skin need to spend more time in the sun to produce vitamin D. This is as opposed to those with lighter skin. That’s because darker skin has more melanin, which is a compound that can inhibit the production of vitamin D.
How old you are can have an impact on your production of vitamin D. As you age, the creation of vitamin D in your skin becomes less effective.
You’ll be able to produce more vitamin D year-round the closer you live to the equator. This is because you are closer to the sun’s rays.
On the other hand, your chances for adequate exposure to the sun decrease proportionally the farther away from the equator you live.
Sunscreen and clothing
Some types of clothing and sunscreen can prevent — if not block — vitamin D production.
While it’s essential to protect yourself from skin cancer – this is by avoiding overexposure to the sun – it takes minimal unprotected sun exposure for your body to begin creating vitamin D.
Although there’s no clear recommendation, specialists advise that as little as 8 – 15 minutes of exposure to the sun is enough to create plenty of vitamin D for people with lighter skin. Those people who have darker skin may need more time. Check out Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Specialised Nutrition Course for more helpful information about good nutritional habits.