Vitamin D - also known as the "sunshine vitamin" - is actually a hormone and an essential part of the human body. Throughout evolution, sunlight has produced vitamin D in the skin, but the advent of the electric light and sunblock, as well as a common fear of skin cancer, seem to have led to a mass vitamin D deficiency. In fact, the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin D recently tripled, going from a recommended 200 IU (5 mcg) for adults up to 50 years of age to 600 IU (15 mcg) for those 1 to 70 years of age, based mainly upon bone health research.
A vitamin D deficiency can cause osteopenia, osteoporosis, increased risk of fracture, sunken pelvic area (due to rickets) and trouble getting pregnant and delivering a baby naturally.
Of the six forms of vitamin D, vitamins D2 and D3 have been identified as the most important for human nutrition. Vitamin D2 predominantly comes from the sun and fungi, such as mushrooms. Vitamin D3 can be produced in the body from the absorption and conversion of the sun's UVB rays or from animal sources.
Because vitamin D affects the entire body, it is vital to maintain your body's vitamin D levels. If you're looking for a vitamin D boost, try eating fatty fish, mushrooms, liver, egg yolks, milk, and yogurt. Better yet, get plenty of direct sun exposure. If you are concerned that your vitamin D levels are not up to par, talk to Dr. Bossio about an assessment and individualized plan.
- Holick, M. "Vitamin D: A D-Lightful Solution for Health." Journal of Investigative Medicine 59, no. 6 (2011): 872-880.
- Phillips, K., R. Horst, N. Koszewski, and R. Simon. "Vitamin D4 in Mushrooms." PLOS ONE (August 3, 2012). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040702.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. "Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals." November 10, 2014.
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