Vitamins play an important role in maintaining optimal health, and one vitamin that has gained significant attention in recent years is Vitamin D. Often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," Vitamin D is unique and plays a crucial role in many physiological functions.
In this article, we will discuss more about VitaminD, explore its sources and functions, and discuss recommended intakes.
What's up with vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in two main forms: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. You've probably heard about the primary source of Vitamin D: sunlight exposure, We not only dairy products, and eggs!
All of these food sources can help to make sure that we get enough vitamin D in our diet and if not, supplementation can help.
So what does it do?
Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption, making our bones strong. It helps regulate the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body, maintaining our bones and teeth. Vitamin D also plays a role in the immune system, helping us to fight off against infections. Vitamin D also contributes to muscle strength by keeping us strong and preventing falls and fractures. Some studies show that there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Vitamin D deficiencies
You've probably heard of people having vitamin D deficiency before. Vitamin D deficiency is a global health concern affecting a significant portion of the population. Factors contributing to this deficiency include limited sunlight exposure, especially in regions with long winters or high latitudes, a lack of Vitamin D-rich foods in the diet, and certain medical conditions that impair absorption or metabolism of Vitamin D.
Common symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, bone pain, and decreased immunity. Prolonged deficiency can lead to severe health consequences such as rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.
Before you self-diagnosis as deficient, check with your healthcare provider to get your labs scheduled.
How much vitamin D is enough
The recommended intake of Vitamin D varies depending on age, gender, and life stage. The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) provide guidelines for the amount of Vitamin D required to maintain optimal health. You can learn more about those from the National Institute of Health here.
The best sources of vitamin D
Sunlight exposure is the primary source of Vitamin D,, however, it's important to balance sun exposure to minimize risk of skin cancer. (Don't forget your sunscreen!)
Vitamin D can easily be consumed through sources like salmon, mackerel, fortified diary products, cereals, and mushrooms. Pure Plates meal prepped menu offers a variety of vitamin D containing foods to make sure that you consume enough nutrients. To check out our full meal plans for weight loss, head here.
When dietary sources and sun exposure are insufficient, supplementation can be an effective way to maintain optimal Vitamin D levels. It is recommended to consult healthcare professionals to determine appropriate dosages.
Overall, Vitamin D plays a crucial role in various aspects of our health, from bone strength to immune function and beyond. Ensuring adequate Vitamin D levels requires a balanced approach that includes safe sun practices, a diet rich in Vitamin D sources, and, if needed, supplementation under the guidance of healthcare professionals. Regular testing and personalized recommendations are key to maintaining optimal Vitamin D status and reaping the numerous benefits this remarkable vitamin provides.
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