Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrition can be obtained from a wide variety of sources like food, sunlight and vitamin supplements. Our body can produce its own vitamin D if exposed directly to the sun. Once the ultraviolet rays from the sun touch the skin, it initiates it to produce vitamin D for the body to use. There is no overdose of vitamin D from the sun since thebody regulates the vitamin D it produces in such a way that the body will generate just enough of what is needed. If a person does not get enough sunshine then other measures must be pursued such as eating more vitamin D foods.
What does vitamin D do? The benefits of vitamin D on the body are numerous. It benefits the overall health of the different organs of the body from the bones to skin. It also has beneficial effects on the emotional state of a person. Vitamin deficiency, more specifically vitamin D deficient people are more prone to depression especially as they grow older. Vitamin D also has beneficial effects on the bones of a person. It helps in the absorption of calcium in the intestine therefore maintaining a balance of calcium in the bones. Lack of vitamin D can hinder the proper absorption of calcium. It is therefore recommended that vitamin D be taken in sufficient amounts alongside calcium supplements for proper absorption.
There are numerous diseases that can be prevented by ample amounts of vitamin D. Among the ailments that can be prevented are osteoporosis, depression, rickets and certain kinds of cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.
Exposure to direct sunlight is essential to get ample amounts of vitamin D into our system. But there are good sources of vitamin D in our diet. The recommended dietary reference intake of vitamin D assuming that a person has little or no exposure to sunlight and all are from food sources is about 600 IU/day for people one to seventy years of age.
The best source of vitamin D perhaps that can be obtained from food sources is pure cod liver oil. One tablespoon of cod liver oil contains about 1,360 IU already. This is more than the recommended dietary reference intake.
Fatty fishes like salmon, sardines and tuna are good sources of vitamin D. Salmon is a good source of vitamin D. About 3.5 ounces of salmon contains 340 IU of vitamin D. Three and a half ounces of tuna and mackerel on the other hand contain about 235 IU and 345 IU respectively.