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What Is Vitamin D: 3 Reasons Why Your Body Needs It

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Sep 01, 2022

What Is Vitamin D: 3 Reasons Why Your Body Needs It

What is vitamin D? When people think about vitamin D, the first thing that comes to mind is sunlight. That is why some people encourage to spend some time out in the sun. However, little is known as to how this particular vitamin works well for the body. This article shares the reasons why this particular vitamin is an essential part of your health.

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that serves both as a nutrient and a hormone the body produces. It aids in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption to improve bone health. It also plays a role in maintaining other cellular functions in the body through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. 

Moreover, it also comes in a variety of forms. They are as follows:

  • Ergosterol (provitamin D2) is a type of sterol that is present in plants.
  • Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) is also present in plants.
  • 7-dehydrocholesterol is the type present in animals.
  • cholestyramine (vitamin D3) is the type formed in the body as a result of sun exposure.

What Is Vitamin D And Where Can You Get It?

There are three easy ways to get vitamin D through the skin, from your diet, and from dietary supplements. Exposure to sunlight allows the body to form vitamin D. However, excessive exposure can cause skin aging and skin cancer. Thus, several individuals find better sources aside from sunlight. Here are some sources of Vitamin D.:

  • Oil extracted from cod liver
  • Salmon
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna sashimi
  • Vitamin D-fortified orange juice
  • Vitamin D-fortified dairy and plant milk
  • Sardines
  • Liver of beef
  • Fortified cereals 
  • Egg yolk

Other food selections also offer high levels of vitamins D2 and D3, such as the meat of fatty fish and liver oils. Some claim that people who exercise daily can aid in the production. 

What Is Vitamin D and How Much Can Your Body Take?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D for adults (19 years and older), is 600 IU per day for both men and women. Whereas, the IU of adults over 70 is at 800. 

The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the highest daily intake that is unlikely to be harmful to one’s health. The UL for vitamin D is 4,000 IU for adults and children aged 9 and up.

Some people who may require additional intake of this vitamin include:

  • Senior citizens
  • Breastfed babies
  • Individuals with dark skin
  • People suffering from certain diseases (i.e., liver disease, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn’s disease)
  • Obese people
  • Individuals who underwent gastric bypass surgery
  • What Is Vitamin D and Why Do You Need It in Your Body?

    Many studies have shown the importance of vitamin D’s role in disease prevention as they offer a wide array of health benefits for people. 

    It Helps Improve Bone and Muscle Strength

    Several studies highlight the benefits of consuming this vitamin to prevent the risk of fractures. 

    Researchers discovered that increasing supplement intake (about 500-800 IU per day) lowered hip and non-spine fractures by around 20%. Whereas, lower intakes (400 IU or less) had no effect on fracture prevention.

    It Can Enhance Immune Function

    This vitamin has anti-inflammatory properties that stimulate the production of immune cells. Thus, it helps to fight off a variety of diseases and disorders, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, cognitive disorders, and Parkinson’s disease.

    It May Help Regulate Mood and Negative Emotions

    Studies show that there is a significant link between vitamin D and mood regulation, as well as lowering the risk of depression

    According to a study, those who took supplements and experienced negative emotions saw an improvement in their symptoms. Moreover,  consumption may benefit people suffering from depression or vitamin D deficiency. 

    Another study also tackled how low vitamin D levels could lead to the possibility of more serious fibromyalgia symptoms, anxiety, and depression.

    Having sufficient amounts in the body could also keep you healthy by protecting against and possibly treating different conditions. Among these conditions are:

    • High blood pressure and heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Infections and immune system dysfunction
    • Falls that are common in elders
    • Some cancers (including colon, prostate, and breast cancers)
    • Multiple sclerosis

    Key Takeaways

    What is vitamin D and does the body really require it? Indeed, vitamin D is an important nutrient one needs to keep the body functioning well. It enhances immune function, which is why it is also a considerable factor in treating infectious diseases like colds and flu

    People can have a deficiency if the recommended amounts are not met. So, make sure to get your good dose of vitamins today!

    Learn more about Nutrition Facts here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Chris Icamen

    Dietetics and Nutrition

    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Sep 01, 2022

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