Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that promotes overall good health. This nutrient encourages calcium absorption within the body, which is essential for bone growth and strength. As a result, vitamin D minimizes the risk of fractures and boosts bone mineral density. It may also reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and modulate cell growth. It also helps to maintain proper levels of phosphorous in the body. Some studies on this nutrient have indicated that it may be capable of protecting individuals from osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases.
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You can maintain proper levels of vitamin D in three distinct ways: the body produces it naturally, some foods are rich in the nutrient, and supplements can provide additional nutritional support. Sunlight can deliver important vitamin D to the body. When the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit the skin, they trigger vitamin D synthesis. In fact, just 10 minutes of sun exposure every day can be enough to maintain healthy vitamin D levels and, thus, avoid deficiencies.
Do Foods Have Vitamin D?
In addition, you can increase your intake of this important nutrient by choosing foods that are rich in vitamin D. Some of the richest sources of this vitamin include the flesh of fatty fish - salmon, tuna, and mackerel - as well as cod liver oil. Lower levels of the vitamin may be found in more common food sources such as eggs, Swiss cheese, yogurt, milk, and orange juice. When these natural options do not improve vitamin D levels, supplements can be taken as well.
Does My Baby Need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D supplements may be particularly important for individuals at risk of deficiencies of this important nutrient. Deficiencies may lead to a number of medical issues, such as rickets in children and osteomalacia, which weakens muscle and bones. In particular, breastfed babies are at risk for vitamin D deficiency because breast milk does not provide adequate levels of the nutrient. Thus, pediatricians often recommend that breastfed babies take a daily vitamin D supplement.
Do Adults Need Vitamin D?
In addition, individuals who face limited sun exposure or who have dark skin may be at an increased risk of deficiency. Older adults fall into this category as well, as their bodies do not absorb vitamin D from the sun as effectively.
Vitamin D Supplements
For individuals prone to a vitamin D deficiency, supplements may help minimize the risk. A variety of supplements are available at drugstore.com. These supplements are available for both children and adults. Vitamin D drops are ideal for babies, allowing you to easily increase your little one’s intake by adding a drop to a pacifier or nipple. Older children - and perhaps even some adults - may prefer the fruity taste of gummy supplements. Adult supplements come in tablet or capsule form in a variety of strengths, from 400 IU to 5,000 IU. Many of these supplements are natural, free of artificial colors, sugar, salt, wheat, gluten, or milk.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a role in a number of body functions. Thus, ensuring that you get enough of this vitamin is important. If your diet and sun exposure are not sufficient, a supplement may help boost your levels of vitamin D.