You might have heard about the importance of vitamin D in your body being thrown around a lot, especially since recent trends have been pointing the needle in the fitness arena. Vitamin D, which we primarily obtain upon exposure to sunlight, is extremely crucial in maintaining the status quo in our biological system.
A lack of it can lead to some serious long-term repercussions, and as a result, it becomes crucial to obtain at least an adequate amount of vitamin D on a daily basis. So, what exactly is this optimum level and how do you determine it?
How Much Vitamin D Is Needed For Your Body?
Introduction to vitamin D
Before we delve into the amount of vitamin D that is necessary for your body, it can be considered important to understand what exactly this vitamin is and its constituents. Vitamin D is basically a vitamin that falls into the fat-soluble category. It can be further divided into two types – vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. The former is found in foods like mushrooms, while the latter (which is the strongest among the two), is commonly found in oily fish, egg yolks, et cetera. The skin primarily synthesizes vitamin D when the body is exposed to the UV rays of the sun, and any excess of this vitamin can be stored in the body as fat for later use. Vitamin D is crucial in performing functions such as preserving your bone health, protecting you from cancer, and maintaining the functionality of the immune system, among others.
The required amount of vitamin D
The amount of vitamin D that each person needs depends on a variety of factors, such as your age, location, sun exposure, season, and ethnicity, to name a few. That being said, according to the National Institutes of Health, the daily recommended dosage of vitamin D is approximately 400 to 800 IU or rather 10 to 20 micrograms. For people with a darker skin tone, or for those who do not receive much exposure to sunlight on a regular basis, these requirements may be a tad higher. However, this level is also higher when it comes to maintaining stability in the blood levels. This means that the recommended dosage of optimum vitamin D blood levels is between 1000 to 4000 IU or 25 to 100 micrograms. The optimum blood level of vitamin D as per the guidelines of the Institute of Medicine and the Nordic Nutrition Council is greater than 20 ng/ml. Anything less than 20 is considered to be insufficient, and blood levels below 12 ng/ml are said to be deficient in vitamin D.
Sources of vitamin D
Unlike other vitamins, the amount of vitamin D present in our food items is significantly low, which means that simply consuming them and hoping to fulfill our daily vitamin D requirements may not be plausible. The major source of vitamin D, as you might already know, is exposure to the sun. The UV rays of the sun interact with the skin and lead to a synthesis of vitamin D. Try to get out into the sun during the peak hours of the morning when the intensity of the sun’s rays is not that high. Avoid receiving exposure to the sun during the afternoon, as it could increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Some foods which you can consider in order to fulfill a significant amount of your vitamin D requirements include fatty fish such as salmon, fish liver oils, egg yolk as well as cereal. There are also numerous vitamin D supplements available on a commercial basis, so you may make use of them in order to maintain optimum levels of vitamin D in your body.
Vitamin D is crucial to maintain stability within the functions of your body. Any excess vitamin D can be stored in your body, but a deficiency can lead to detrimental effects on various parts of your body. This makes it extremely impertinent to fulfill your daily requirements of vitamin D. While various subjective factors have to be taken into accounts, an average has been drawn by many research institutes, which has led to the arrival of the numbers as mentioned above. Consult your doctor if you wish to get more personalized requirements, and be cautious before consuming any supplements.
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