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What are the Benefits of Vitamin D? Everything to Know About the Sunshine Vitamin

By May 12, 2023September 6th, 2023No Comments

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is crucial for maintaining overall health. There are many benefits of vitamin D, for example, it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from your food, which is essential for the growth and development of strong bones and teeth.

There are two forms of vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is a type of vitamin D, which is found in food and dietary supplements.
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is made when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but it can also come from some animal sources, such as oily fish like salmon and egg yolks.

How much vitamin D do you need?

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D varies depending on age and sex, but it ranges from 400 to 800 international units (IU), or 10 to 20 micrograms (mcg) per day.

During the months of March to September, most people can naturally produce vitamin D from sunlight. However, it is recommended that everyone should consider taking a vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter.

What are the benefits of vitamin D?

There are many benefits to vitamin D, including supporting the growth and development of the bones and teeth, regulating your mood, reducing inflammation in the body, keeping the muscles healthy and supporting the immune system.

Vitamin D also helps to prevent dry skin, improves cell turnover, and it may help to prevent eczema and acne.

foods with vitamin d

Signs you may have a vitamin D deficiency:

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a range of health issues, including weak bones, increased risk of fractures, and reduced immune function. Signs that you may have a vitamin D deficiency:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone aches or pain
  • Hair loss
  • Depression or low mood
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale skin
  • Poor sleep

Some people may be more prone to vitamin D deficiency. Some factors that increase the risk of a vitamin D deficiency are:

  • Skin colour
  • Location/where you live
  • Sun exposure
  • Your ability to absorb vitamin D
  • Medical conditions
  • Body weight

It’s important to note that too much vitamin D can also be harmful, too.

Food sources that have vitamin D:

The best source of vitamin D comes from fish, but there are other foods with naturally high vitamin D content. For example:

  • Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel
  • Canned fish, such as sardines and herring
  • Egg yolks
  • Beef liver
  • Mushrooms

There aren’t many foods with naturally-occurring vitamin D, but some food products have vitamin D added to them, such as:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Almond milk
  • Soy milk
  • Orange juice
  • Cereal and porridge (make sure to check the label, as not all cereals will contain vitamin D).

Additionally, vitamin D supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and liquid drops.

Vitamin D can also be obtained through sun exposure, but it’s important to practice sun safety by using SPF, sun cream, sunglasses and a hat. Protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure is important in reducing the risk of skin damage and skin cancer. Excessive sun exposure can also lead to photoageing.

If you are suffering from vitamin D deficiency, it may be a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement or cod liver oil supplement. You could also increase your consumption of the foods mentioned above. 

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benefits of vitamin d