29 Must Know Vitamin D Facts That Make Sun Exposure Important! | Kidadl


29 Must Know Vitamin D Facts That Make Sun Exposure Important!

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Vitamin D is the most essential nutrient required to synthesize by humans in order to have healthy growth.

Do you know that our body can synthesize vitamin D all by itself? The only thing we need to do is go and stand in the sunlight.

It's important to have a sufficient intake of vitamin D to have healthy bones and strong muscles. Children who lack exposure to the sun often have a weaker bone structure and suffer from vitamin D deficiency. People who lack vitamin D in their childhood and have an indoor lifestyle with a poorly balanced diet may also suffer from bone pain and joint pain.

Sun exposure fulfills all the levels of vitamin D required to keep the body healthy and even reduces the risk of generating cells that might cause skin cancer. It's important to keep a check on your vitamin D levels and maintain them. If you aren't getting sufficient levels of vitamin D make sure you consult your doctor or dietician to discover3r more about vitamin D supplements and other fortified foods that you can eat to help you get your recommended daily dose of vitamin D.

Read on to know more about the need for dietary supplements to maintain vitamin D blood levels.

Vitamin D Food Sources

There are very few food sources that have vitamin D present naturally in them. But there are some items like fatty fish, fish liver oils, and salmon which are some of the best vitamin D sources.

  • Eating fortified foods can help to boost your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is essential to maintain bone health and keep you healthy. Cod liver oil contains vitamin D and helps your brain to function, maintains healthy bones, assists with a low rate of inflammation in your body, and supports good immunity. A single tablespoon of cod liver oil contains high vitamin D levels.
  • Many types of fish include high levels of vitamin D. For example, swordfish can be a rich source of vitamin D. Another rich source of vitamin D is salmon. Sockeye salmon is rich in various minerals, including omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. Tuna, which is a favorite of many people around the world, is also an excellent contributor of vitamin D. Tuna can be added to salads, sandwiches, pasta, or by adding tuna fish on tortillas.
  • Sardines are also packed with natural sources of minerals and vitamins along with a fair amount of vitamin D. Mackerel is also considered a rich source of vitamin D as three ounces of mackerel can give you 251% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin D.
  • Additionally, one filet of the rainbow trout fish can provide 125% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin D. Atlantic herring, Atlantic cod, haddock, sturgeon, beef liver, pork chops are all excellent choices to help provide you with a natural source of vitamin D.
  • In order to have healthy bones in children, to aid with their growth and throughout their lifetime, getting enough vitamin D is crucial. Severe vitamin D deficiency can cause your bone health to depreciate and you may suffer from bone pain and other illnesses. Therefore, if you cannot include fish or any animal product in your regular diet, make sure you have white mushrooms, milk, yogurt, cereals, or orange juice, which are also rich and natural sources of vitamin D.
  • They are excellent calcium providers too. Chicken breast is also rich in vitamin D and protein. Scrambled eggs can also be included on the list of vitamin D food sources. You can also include fortified milk in your diet. We already fortified the milk in the US with vitamin D and A. Yogurt is naturally a high vitamin D provider and can be included in your diet.

Why is vitamin D known as the sunshine vitamin?

The real reason behind naming vitamin D as the sunshine vitamin is because our body is capable of producing vitamin D whenever it is exposed to the sun. This indicates that people who move out of their houses in the daytime for work, school, or other getting exposed to sunlight will automatically have higher vitamin D levels. Those who stay at home are not getting sufficient vitamin D sources via sun exposure and hence might have to rely on other food sources, vitamin D supplements, or fortified foods. Let's look at some other facts relating to sunshine and vitamin D:

  • In many countries, it's difficult for people to get desired levels of vitamin D from sun exposure because the sunlight isn't strong enough thanks to Earth's tilted rotational axis. Hence they need to look at other food sources to get enough vitamin D.
  • We should also note that people who work outdoors and regularly use a lot of sunscreen reduce their skin’s ability to naturally produce Vitamin D. Hence they also need dietary supplements of vitamin D. Dieticians also recommend having vitamin D supplements to balance their vitamin D levels.
  • The amount of sun exposure that you need varies for every individual and depends on the type of your skin, lifestyle, age, and work-life. Firstly, you need to find out what levels of vitamin D are required by your body.
  • You should expose the entire body to the sun for 30 minutes at least every day in order to produce the required amount of vitamin D in your skin. Doing this means our body can get enough vitamin D from the sun alone and you may not need to take any additional vitamin D supplements.
  • People who spend the majority of the day indoors and don't get enough exposure to sunlight tend to have low levels of vitamin D. Hence, taking vitamin D supplements is a better choice to stay healthy. We observe that the human body specifically makes the D3 form of vitamin D and hence D3 supplements are preferred because they are more effective than D2.
  • Some people naturally produce more vitamin D than others. It depends on the skin pigmentation. People who have dark skin tones protect from the UV rays and thus reduce the process of vitamin D production in the skin. Individuals with a skin tone that is typical in Asia or Africa need to spend more time in sun exposure to produce the same level of vitamin D compared to people with lighter skin tones.
  • Too much sun exposure can be harmful to people too and can cause serious damage. Even people with darker skin tones that are exposed to long hours in the sun may run the risk of getting sunburn too. Rather than too much sun exposure, it can be preferable to take vitamin D supplementation and dietary supplements of vitamin D.
  • The melanin component in the skin is responsible to absorb or restrict the skin’s ability to produce desired levels of vitamin D. Taking a vitamin D supplement that has a definite amount of vitamin D and maintains the levels of vitamin in your body is also helpful for those who are not exposed to sunlight. It helps us ensure that we are having the right amount of vitamin D.
  • So make sure that you spend some time getting safe exposure to the sunlight and maybe enjoy a morning walk by yourself.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient required for better bone health.

Vitamin D Classification

Vitamin D is classified into five types. Usually, vitamin D3 is synthesized by all humans, and vitamin D2 is produced by plants.

  • Vitamin D1 was first discovered by Adolf Windaus who is also a Nobel Laureate. He was the first person to classify the vitamin into three types.
  • Vitamin D1 is a steroid compound and a mixture of vitamin D2 and lumisterol. It's produced after sun exposure. Vitamin D2 is produced by plants, invertebrates, and fungi due to sun exposure. Vitamin D2 is not found in vertebrates. Vitamin D2 has a methyl group and a double bond which is absent in D3.
  • Vitamin D3 is scientifically named Cholecalciferol which is synthesized by humans when our skin is exposed to the sun. We then convert it into calcifediol, and then into calcitriol. This is the active form of vitamin D that is stored by the kidneys.
  • Calcitriol increases the rate of calcium absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin D3 is synthetically made for fortifying food and making vitamin D supplements.
  • Vitamin D4 also known as 22 dihydroxy ergocalciferol was recently discovered in a particular type of mushroom, known as the oyster mushroom, due to their exposure to sunlight. This type of vitamin is not found in humans. But we assume it has similar functions to the other type of vitamins.
  • Vitamin D5 has the scientific name sito calciferol which relates closely with vitamin D3. Vitamin D5 is efficient in preventing the risk of cancer. It hampers the growth of cancer cells.
  • It also restricts tumor growth. Vitamin D5 has low calcium absorbing capacity and hence is used to prevent cancer.
  • Some health benefits of vitamin D intake are absorption of nutrients, balancing the level of calcium, maintaining the blood pressure, reducing the tension and stress, smooth functioning of muscles, improving the functioning of kidneys, and preventing the risk of skin cancer by controlling the growth of cancer cells, improving the muscle strength and bone health, etc.

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms In The Body

Vitamin D deficiency is caused due to low levels of vitamin D intake. The lower exposure to sunlight can also cause low levels of vitamin D and thus lead to prolonged vitamin D deficiency.

  • If people are allergic to milk, lactose-intolerant people or people who have a vegan lifestyle also have low levels of vitamin D. This can be seen when the body shows vitamin D deficiency symptoms.
  • Your kidneys play an important role too. If the kidneys are unable to transform the vitamin D from food or sun exposure or they cannot absorb the vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels cause osteomalacia or rickets. People who have low vitamin D levels can suffer from soft bones and weaker bone health.
  • It's commonly found in both children and adults. Hence, vitamin D is added to milk and people use vitamin D supplementation and other dietary supplements to fulfill the desirable proportion of vitamin D in the body. Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are weight loss, heart arrhythmias, and anorexia.
  • Similarly, an excessive amount of vitamin D can damage the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. Excess levels of vitamin D increase the calcium levels in your body. Hence, you should always take tolerable levels of vitamin D.
  • However, excessive vitamin D is not caused by long hours of sun exposure. The symptoms can be a weakness in organs, sore muscles, and bone pain. Similarly, too much vitamin D is also not good for health. More vitamin D intake can reduce calcium absorption and hence causes side effects.
  • It's advisable to take maintain the required level of vitamin D and calcium as part of a healthy diet, using supplements when needed.
Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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