Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that functions like a hormone because it can be synthesized by sunlight and it is not always necessary to get it dietarily. Vitamin D is essential for general bone health, it may help reduce the risk of cancer and it is essential for bone growth in children and bone maintenance in adults. Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis in the elderly, it reduces risk of falls for elderly people.
Vitamin D is stored by the liver and fat tissue. When the body needs more Vitamin D, the liver and kidneys convert their stores to the biologically active form of Vitamin D. This synthesising ability reduces with age so it is really important that we make sure grandma and grandpa get outside often so they can get their Vitamin D.
Babies who are breastfed exclusively and everyone aged birth to 18 years old need a supplement of 5 micrograms per day.
Every adult needs 24 micrograms per day.
Oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, cod liver oil, other fish oils, egg yolks, butter, liver, fortified milk and fortified foods like cereal are all sources of Vitamin D.
Vegetarians need a Vitamin D supplement because plants are a poor source of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
Rickets is when bones weaken and fail to harden causing bowed legs, knock knees and other skeletal deformities.
Osteomalacia, aka soft bones, occurs in adults and it causes an increased risk for fractures of the hip, spine and other bones.
Osteoporosis causes the bones to become porous and brittle and prone to breaking very easily.
The UL for people 19 and older is 50 micrograms per day. Symptoms of toxicity is excessive urination, thirst, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.
So, make sure you get your Vitamin D so you can grow taller and keep your bones healthy for the rest of your life.
USDA.gov. United States Department of Agriculture, 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2012. <http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/Resources/appendd.pdf>.
Insel, Paul M., R. Elaine. Turner, and Don Ross. Nutrition. 3rd ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2007. Print.