The immune system and bone health depend on vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight, but it can also be obtained from food. Some people require supplements, however how much extra vitamin D you require will vary depending on your age and place of residence.
How much vitamin D should you take?
How much vitamin D you need depends on many factors. These include:
This is merely a brief list of the variables that influence how much vitamin D a person requires. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises consuming 400–800 IU, or 10–20 micrograms, each day on average.
However, other research indicates that if you don’t get much sun exposure or have darker skin tones, your daily intake needs to be higher. Blood levels beyond 20 ng/ml or 30 ng/ml are regarded as “adequate,” depending on who you ask.
In the same study, vitamin D deficient people required 5,000 IU to raise their blood levels above 30 ng/ml. Those who are obese or overweight may also require larger doses of vitamin D. All things considered, most persons should be able to maintain adequate blood levels of vitamin D with a daily consumption of 1,000–4,000 IU, or 25–100 micrograms. The National Institutes of Health state that 4,000 IU is the safe top level. Make sure not to take more than that without first seeking medical advice.
How common is vitamin D deficiency?
Worldwide, vitamin D insufficiency is a problem.
But it’s widespread in young women, children, older persons, and those with dark complexion. A lack of vitamin D affects 42% of Americans. However, this incidence increases to 82% for Black people and 70% for Hispanics, a situation where structural issues are probably a factor.
If you have year-round access to intense sunlight, a little bit of sun exposure may be sufficient to meet your vitamin D needs. Your vitamin D levels, however, could change seasonally if you reside far north or south of the equator. Due to little sunlight throughout the winter, the levels may decrease.
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:
COMPROMISED IMMUNITY: Immune system health is significantly influenced by vitamin D. Lack of it increases the risk of disease, infections, and exhaustion. Deficiency might raise the chance of getting sick or getting infected.
BONE PROBLEMS: Low vitamin D levels in the blood have been linked to lower back pain and bone discomfort, according to studies. Low bone mineral density may be a sign of vitamin D insufficiency.
DEPRESSION: Depression is associated with low vitamin D levels. Studies show that supplementing improves a person’s mood. Research finds a correlation between people with suicidal tendencies and vitamin D deficiency.
SLOWER WOUND HEALING: Skin damage can be repaired by vitamin D. Poor wound healing, especially after surgery, an injury, or an infection, may be caused by a lack of vitamin D.
HAIR LOSS: Vitamin D is essential for hair growth and a sign of vitamin D deficiency can be female-pattern hair loss or the autoimmune condition of alopecia areata.
MUSCLE PAIN: Studies have discovered a clear correlation between low blood levels of vitamin D and chronic muscular pain, which may be because vitamin D and our pain-sensing nerve cells interact. If you’re unsure of your vitamin D levels, talk to your doctor about getting your levels checked.
What Increases The Risk Of Vitamin D Deficcency?
We mainly get vitamin D from sun exposure and diet. However, there are still many factors that increase our risk of low vitamin D levels. Among them are the following:
LIFESTYLE: One of the main and most frequent causes of vitamin D insufficiency is insufficient exposure to sunlight. Living in a large city, being exposed to high levels of pollution, and wearing clothing that covers the skin outside are all factors that lower vitamin D levels.
SUNSCREEN USE: Sunscreen blocks the harmful UVB rays of the sun. However, they also hinder the skin’s production of vitamin D. If you use sunscreen daily, you are more likely to be low in vitamin D.
LOCATION AND SEASON: The amount of sunlight you receive depends on both where you live and the season. In comparison to the winter, you get more vitamin D and sunlight throughout the summer. Because the sun is at a lower angle in the sky for those who live farther from the equator, they also create less vitamin D.
SKIN TONE: Skin melanin acts as a “natural sunscreen” and reduces the skin‘s ability to absorb Vitamin D. Think of melanin like a crystal. When UV rays hit it, the ray scatters making it less harmful to DNA. This is why people who have a darker skin tone are more prone to vitamin D deficiency.
AGE: Our kidneys become less effective in converting Vitamin D into its active form as we become older. Because of this, older people are more likely to have decreased vitamin D levels.
OBESITY: Extra fat cells can affect the release of vitamin D into circulation since fat cells are responsible for removing it from the blood. People who have too much body fat are more likely to have poor vitamin D levels.
What are the main sources of vitamin D?
You can get vitamin D from:
foods that contain vitamin D
Considering how few foods actually contain significant amounts of vitamin D, consumption is typically fairly low.
Fish liver oils and fatty fish like salmon are examples of foods that do contain vitamin D.
Small amounts are also present in egg yolks, and in certain nations milk and cereals are fortified with vitamin D.
Supplements, on the other hand, are likewise readily accessible and reliable.
Can we get enough vitamin D from the sun alone?
The best way to acquire enough vitamin D is through summertime sun exposure, but it carries some risk. Furthermore, different amounts of sunshine are required. Adults with darker skin tones and older people typically produce less vitamin D in their skin.
Additionally, geographic region and time of year are also important because regions farther from the equator have lower levels of vitamin D production.
However, vitamin D can be produced with only a small amount of sun exposure, so it’s recommended to keep your time in the sun to no longer than 10 to 15 minutes while only exposing your arms, legs, abdomen, and back. Following the application of sunscreen, the Skin Cancer Organization advises that you limit this to two to three times each week. After that time, your body would eliminate any excess vitamin D, and you would be introducing solar damage without providing any more benefits. Remember that the technique your body uses to create vitamin D can also result in DNA damage, sunburn, and genetic abnormalities. This may lead to the formation of wrinkles and raise your chance of developing skin cancer.
However, you can choose to consume vitamin D-rich foods or supplements.
How much is too much?
While incidences of vitamin D toxicity are rare, getting too much can be harmful. It could lead to:
loss of appetite
Extremely high levels can cause: