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Vitamin D.The health benefits and sources of vitamin D

What is vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins and is also called The Sun vitamin because the body synthesizes it when exposed to ultraviolet sunlight, and the sunlight is the most important factor in the synthesis of vitamin D by the body through the skin. We will get acquainted with the types of vitamin D, its sources, appropriate dosages, and the normal rate of vitamin D in the body.

Vitamin D.The health benefits and sources of vitamin D

Types of vitamin D

There are two main types of vitamin D, namely: 

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): found in some plant sources.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): found in animal sources.

When choosing vitamin D supplements, it is often recommended to choose types that contain cholecalciferol or vitamin D3, as the metabolic processes that take place in the liver differ for both vitamin D2 and D3, and the effectiveness of vitamin D3 is likely to increase compared to vitamin D2, it is the natural form that is made in the body when exposed to sunlight.

Sources of vitamin D

There are many sources of vitamin D between natural and non-natural sources, and it is preferable to get it from its natural sources, so where is vitamin D

 The important sources of vitamin D:

The Sun: The Sun is the main source of vitamin D, as sufficient exposure to it daily for at least 15 minutes contributes to stimulating the production of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet rays, while vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is produced in the plant, and is found in foods fortified with vitamin D.

Foods containing vitamin D: 

The body can manufacture sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Still, a person may not get enough of it if he is not sufficiently exposed to sunlight, or if the body has difficulty absorbing vitamin D, all this leads to a deficiency in it, and the appearance of symptoms that result from this.

So the body can get vitamin D from some foods, the most important of which are:

Fatty fish:

 Fatty fish are good sources of vitamin D, such as salmon, 100 g of which contains about 526 IU of vitamin D. Other examples of fish that contain vitamin D in reasonable quantities are trout, mackerel, tuna, and eel.

Canned tuna fish: 

Fresh fish is not the only way to get vitamin D, vitamin D is also found in canned tuna and sardines, where in 100 grams of canned light tuna there are 268 IU of vitamin D, while 100 grams of canned sardines contain 193 IU.

Certain types of mushrooms:

 Mushrooms can produce vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet rays, but some varieties are grown in the dark, therefore they do not contain vitamin D, however, some specific brands grow mushrooms under ultraviolet rays to stimulate the production of vitamin D.

Fortified milk: milk does not contain vitamin D naturally, but most of the types sold in the markets are fortified with it. Soy milk and rice are also sometimes supported to compensate for their lack of vitamin D.

Some types of orange juice: 

Some types of orange juices are fortified with vitamin D. usually one glass of fortified orange juice contains about 100 IU of vitamin D, but the amount varies depending on the brand.

Egg yolk; 

One of the sources of vitamin D is also egg yolk, so it is important to eat whole eggs and not just the whites, as one egg yolk contains about 37 IU of vitamin D, but it is not recommended to try to get the body's daily need for the vitamin only from eggs.

Fortified cereals:

There are some types of low-calorie cereals fortified with vitamin D that help the body get a portion of its daily vitamin need and prevent its deficiency. These pills can be taken with fortified milk as milk also contains calcium.

Beef liver: cow liver contains many nutrients, and one serving of cooked beef liver contains about 50 IU of vitamin D, in addition to vitamin A, and iron.

Cod liver oil: 

One tablespoon of cod Liver oil contains about 1300 IU of vitamin D, which is more than twice the daily requirement (600 IU per day).

Dietary supplements:

Vitamin D supplements are available in the form of Oral Drops, syrup, vitamin D pills, and needles for intramuscular injection.

The best time to take vitamin D from the sun

The best time to take vitamin D from the sun is during the middle of the day when the sun's Rays are vertical or close to vertical, factors affecting the efficiency of taking vitamin D from the sun include: 

Time of sun exposure.

The area of the skin is exposed to sunlight.

Skin color, where the darker the skin, the slower the synthesis of vitamin D.

As for vitamin D pills, the best time to take them is after the main meal, as vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins, which means that it is better absorbed into the bloodstream when consumed with or after high-fat foods, such as avocados, nuts, full-fat dairy products, and eggs.

The benefits of vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins involved in bone-building metabolism, by facilitating the absorption of calcium by the intestines, and vitamin D also contributes to the transport of calcium from the intestines the blood by proteins called calendar and also stimulates the absorption of magnesium and phosphate.

In addition, vitamin D normalizes calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood; helps bones to increase calcium absorption, thereby enhancing bone strength and density, preventing osteoporosis and thinning of bones, and rickets. It is worth mentioning that vitamin D protects against calcium deficiency and bone problems in patients with kidney failure.

Other important benefits of vitamin D include :

Reduce digestive disorders, especially irritable bowel syndrome.

Prevention of multiple sclerosis, as adequate levels of vitamin D in the blood, contribute to the Prevention of this disease.

Regulate insulin levels in the body, and reduce the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes.

Increased chances of pregnancy after insemination or artificial fertilization in women who do not suffer from vitamin D deficiency compared to those who suffer from its deficiency.

Enhance fertility in men by improving testosterone levels, as well as improving the quality of semen.

Maintaining the integrity of the expectant mother and fetus, avoiding premature birth, and preventing deformation of the fetal bones.

It is recommended to give vitamin D supplements to infants from birth under the supervision of a doctor, as breast milk does not provide them with enough of it.

Strengthening immunity, and protection from cancer and chronic diseases, especially in the elderly. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of immune diseases, and its deficiency is associated with an increased risk of autoimmune diseases and susceptibility to various diseases.

Relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome with calcium supplements, as vitamin D helps reduce the excessive production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which cause the pain associated with menstruation, which contributes to reducing this pain.

Stimulate old hair follicles, and increase and stimulate the formation of new hair follicles, as well as it is believed that there is a relationship between alopecia and vitamin D deficiency

Dosage of vitamin D

The recommended preventive doses of vitamin D are given in the form of a daily dose or a weekly dose and can be obtained from natural sources or dietary supplements, and the recommended dose of vitamin D is as follows:

Daily vitamin D dosage

The recommended daily requirement of vitamin D varies by age group, as follows: 

The daily dose of vitamin D for infants from birth to one year of age: a dose of 400 IU per day, taken in the form of drops by mouth.

The daily dose of vitamin D for children after a year up to 18 years of age: is 600 IU per day.

The daily dose of vitamin D for adults aged 19-71 years: is 600 IU per day.

The daily dose of vitamin D for the elderly over 71 years of age: is 800 IU per day.

Dosage of vitamin D for pregnant women: 1000-4000 IU per day. It is worth noting that pregnancy vitamins contain vitamin D, but only at a dose of 400 IU, which is an insufficient amount.

Weekly vitamin D dosage

Doctors usually recommend that patients with vitamin D deficiency take vitamin D supplements at a dose of 50,000 IU once a week for two or three months. 

Excess of vitamin D in the body

Taking vitamin D as a dietary supplement in high doses may lead to high levels in the body and the occurrence of vitamin D toxicity, and although this is rare, it is dangerous and leads to an increase in calcium in the blood and its accumulation in the body, and the appearance of the following symptoms: 

Lack of concentration.






High blood pressure.

Bone loss.

Kidney damage.

Analysis of vitamin D and the normal rate of vitamin D

Vitamin D analysis can be performed in the laboratory to find out whether its level falls within the normal ratio or not, as the normal range of vitamin D is considered to be between 20-50 ng/ mL, but if the result is less than 12 ng/ mL, a doctor should be consulted to treat vitamin D deficiency.

It is advisable to always consult a doctor before starting to take vitamin D supplements to prescribe the appropriate dosage.


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