Although Vitamin D can be obtained by some foods such as fatty fish or fortified fruit juices, majority of the Vitamin D that people receive is obtained from exposure to sunlight. Excess vitamin D gets stored in fat cells during periods of sunlight, and is released during periods with little or no sun exposure. Vitamin D is known to contribute to bone, skin, and cardiac health. Vitamin D does so by regulating minerals such as calcium and phosphorus in the body.
Taking Vitamin D directly prevents Rickets, a disease caused by Vitamin D deficiency. Rickets causes soft bones and skeletal deformities. Vitamin D also helps to prevent or treat osteoporosis, as well as bone pain and bone loss. Vitamin D helps to prevent calcium loss in people with kidney failure. Vitamin D is also good for the heart and blood vessels as it helps to prevent high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is also useful against diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), muscle weakness, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, tooth and gum diseases and lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Vitamin D is also good for the skin and is helpful against skin conditions and diseases such as psoriasis, scleroderma, actinic keratosis, lupus vulgaris, and vitiligo. Vitamin D also boosts the immune system and can prevent cancer.
People with Vitamin D deficiencies are at increased risk of cognitive impairment in adulthood, severe asthma in childhood, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Despite how little sun exposure is necessary to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D, deficiencies are still common. Vitamin D deficiency is especially notable in older people who spend less time outdoors and have less receptors needed to produce Vitamin D. These people could talk to a physician about taking a supplement.
While spending ample time in the sun helps the skin to produce Vitamin D, it also could lead to damage due to sun exposure such as sunburn, sun poison, or skin cancer. While the amount of exposure needed to produce a significant amount Vitamin D for the body varies among individual differences, overall it is produced very easily by the body, and with minimal sun exposure necessary. People should wear protective sunscreen when spending time outdoors in the sunlight.
Research done by Ms. Emily Demino
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