Health TipVitamin D

A balanced diet is important for a healthy body and mind.  The American Dietetic Association states that vitamin D plays a vital role along with calcium in overall bone health.  If the body has an insufficient amount of vitamin D in its system it can cause bones to brittle, leading to different forms of arthritis and osteoporosis. 

Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important nutrient in the body because it aides all of the body’s major systems including the skeletal and nervous systems.  According to The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health, “muscles need it to move, for example, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses”.  Without an adequate amount of vitamin D, the body cannot sufficiently absorb the proper amount of calcium needed to protect teeth and bones.  When the body doesn’t absorb the right amount of calcium, the body takes away from stored calcium in the bones, causing a weakening of the overall skeletal system as reported by National Institute of Arthritis. 

Daily intake recommendations

Vitamin D can be found in a number of places.  Common foods that contain high amount of Vitamin D are dairy products, such as milk, butter, cheese and creams.  Other foods include fatty fish, oysters, soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals; introducing of extra vitamins or minerals into the product.  You can also get Vitamin D from moderate sun exposure.  The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends ten to fifteen minutes of direct sunlight three times a week, but to make sure to protect with sunscreen if exposed to the sun for an extended period of time to avoid the effects of skin cancer.  The recommended milligram (mg) amount of Vitamin D for males under 70 is 1,000 mg/ day.  The amount increases for women at the age of 51 to 1,200 mg/ day due to the loss of calcium in the body during menopause.

Can I get too much Vitamin D?

Although important to get a healthy amount of vitamin D, like anything else, there are side effects with too much consumption.  The U.S. National Library of Medicine states, “too much vitamin D can make the intestines absorb too much calcium. This may cause high levels of calcium in the blood. High blood calcium can lead to, calcium deposits in soft tissues such as the heart and lungs, confusion and disorientation, damage to the kidneys, kidney stones, nausea, vomiting, constipation, poor appetite, weakness, and weight loss”.

Vitamin D is a vital part of a healthy diet, keeping bones strong and maintaining other healthy functions of the body.  Focus on a strong diet to increases lifespan and decreases complications brought on with ageing.  Keeping a fit diet is the first step in living a long and healthy life.

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