Apart from carbs, proteins and fats, the body requires certain vitamins to carry out its normal functions. One among these is vitamin D, which is critical for the normal development and functioning of various parts of the body, and overall health.
Unlike other vitamins that can be obtained through a balanced diet, vitamin D is freely available from sunshine. When exposed to the sun’s rays, the body synthesizes its own vitamin D and makes it available to the various organs of the body.
Vitamin D serves an important function of facilitating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus (obtained from food) for the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth. In children, it is important in the formation of new and healthy bone tissue and prevents the formation of rickets, which is characterized by bone weakness, and skeletal deformities such as bowed legs and stooped posture. In adults, the vitamin maintains the health of the bones by renewing old and damaged tissue. A good supply of vitamin D helps prevents osteomalacia (softening of bones), osteoporosis and fractures. Bone health is further fortified with good muscle strength, which aids in good balance, lowering the chances of falls and fractures.
Apart from good bone health, vitamin D has found its benefits in other bodily functions and in the prevention of many diseases. It is required for good immune health, brain development, cardiovascular function, improved fertility and healthy lungs.
The body requires 400 – 1000 IU of vitamin D each day. While maximum amount of vitamin is obtained from the sun, certain foods such as fish liver oils, fatty fish and fortified cereals, provide 10 to 20% of total vitamin D.
When these levels are not met either due to a primarily indoor lifestyle or less exposure to sunshine in high latitudes, vitamin D deficiency can be associated with many conditions such as asthma, flu, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Many studies have shown that taking vitamin D supplements help improve many conditions.
So this summer, make the most of the sun and stay healthy.