What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in food, as an additive, and available as a dietary supplement. It is associated with maintaining bone strength and can play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis. Deficiencies can pose serious health risk for your body; without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin and brittle, a condition known as osteoporosis. Vitamin D is produced in the body from cholesterol this can be from supplementation, food, or from UV light from the sun. That is when there is a sufficient amount of UV light coming from the sun (when the UV index is 3 or higher). Most people are not deficient, but we're also not taking in a sufficient level of vitamin D. The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is currently between 400-800IU/day, depending on age. However research has indicated that this value is too low. For moderate supplementation, a 1,000-2,000IU dose is sufficient to meet the needs of most of the population.
What forms are available?
There are actually 2 forms of vitamin D; D-2; and D-3;. Vitamin D-2; (ergocalciferol) can be found in supplements and comes from plant and/or fungal sources that are irradiated. D-2; however is not as efficiently used as D-3;. D-3; (cholecalciferol) is naturally occurring in our bodies after skin is exposed to direct sunlight/ UV light. It can also be found in vitamin supplements and foods, such as fortified milk, fatty fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolks. Because D-3; is naturally found in the body it is preferred for supplementation. D-3; supplement is primarily sourced from sheep's lanolin or fish oil, however there are vegan D-3; supplements available.
People at risk for deficiency
Although there is no known cause for a deficiency in vitamin D, there are a few cases that can make you more predisposed to developing it. These cases include being vegan, being limited to sun exposure, if your kidneys cannot convert it to a active form, if you have issues absorbing nutrients, and obesity. If you feel you may be low in vitamin D or present symptom of a deficiency, you can get a blood test to indicate your body's level.