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» What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, also known as the "sunshine vitamin" because the body manufactures it after being exposed to sunshine, is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts like a hormone, regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestine as well as helping to control the movement of calcium between bone and blood.
Vitamin D is predominantly synthesised in the body after exposure to sunlight as we are only able to get a small amount from our diet. The winter season and most sun block products inhibit the body's ability to produce optimal levels of Vitamin D. As a result, Vitamin D supplementation becomes even more necessary to ensure our bodies receive an adequate supply
The Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D’s many heath benefits have been extensively documented. It has been demonstrated that Vitamin D contributes to:
- The growth and development of bone in children
- The function of the immune system
- The maintenance of normal bones
- The maintenance of normal teeth
- Normal blood calcium levels
- The normal absorption/utilisation of calcium and phosphorus
- The process of cell division
...so it is clear that Vitamin D is a very important nutrient!
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency (Hypovitaminosis D) can occur for a number of reasons whether it be a lack of exposure to sunlight, lack of dietary intake or a problem in absorbing it in the body.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to;
- Osteoporosis - Weakening of the bones
- Rickets (in children) – Can lead to deformities of bones
- Osteomalacia (in adults) – Softening of bones
We offer a simple blood test that can identify your Vitamin D levels. If in doubt order a test kit or visit your doctor.
Recommended Amount of Vitamin D
Different groups of people require different amounts of Vitamin D. The elderly and children under five are at higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency than the rest of the population. Other people that may have an increased risk of deficiency are people with dark skin, people who do not get exposure to the sun, people who excessively use sun block, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Vitamin D Over-consumption
Taking too much Vitamin D can be harmful to the human body. The body cannot produce too much from sun exposure however dietary intake combined with high dose supplements can cause issues. Too much Vitamin D can cause more calcium to be absorbed then can be eliminated from the body. This in turn causes calcium to be deposited in the kidneys which can cause damage. It can also cause calcium to be taken from bone which over time can weaken them.
We all have different needs of this vitamin so if you are considering supplementing; we recommend testing and/or consulting a healthcare professional.