Vitamin D - Food, Function

What is vitamin D, and what is its function?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin; it is a type of fat-soluble vitamin. The primary function of vitamin D is to ensure the production of hormones, strengthen the immune system, and improve bone and skin health.

The human body can synthesize vitamin D. 80-90% is produced by the action of ultraviolet rays on the skin. Only 10-20% of the total amount is covered through food intake. (2)

Achieving the recommended amount of vitamin D in the body is essential to optimizing metabolism. Its lack can lead to the development of diseases in the nervous system and symptoms of osteoporosis in older adults. Its excess, known as hypervitaminosis D, can be fatal. (1)

Recommended amount of vitamin D per day

The recommended amount of vitamin D ranges from 10 to 20 µg (micrograms) per day, depending on gender and age. This dose can be written as 400 IU – 800 IU. Adults over 70 are advised to include a more significant amount.

Vitamin D can be accumulated in the body. Its excessive consumption can cause intoxication. The maximum daily dose is 1000 to 3000 IU for children and 4000 IU for adults. (2)

Table of the recommended amount of vitamin D:

  • Children up to 12 months: 400 IU
  • Children between 1 and 13 years: 600 IU
  • Adolescents between 14 and 18 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 19 to 70 years: 600 IU
  • Adults over 70 years: 800 IU
  • Pregnant and lactating women: 600 IU

Products rich in vitamin D

There are two ways to cover the recommended amount of vitamin D, food and supplements. In addition, the products increase their effectiveness when combined with ultraviolet light.

The simplest way to cover the recommended amount per day is to increase your fatty fish, eggs, and tuna consumption. In addition, some brands of foods such as dairy and cereals are fortified with this vitamin.

Foods with vitamin D

Most foods with vitamin D are of animal origin. Fatty fish such as tuna and liver is the highest quantity. Foods with vitamin D are:

  • Sardine – 500 IU per 100 g
  • Catfish – 440 IU per 100 g
  • Beef liver – 350 per 100 g
  • Salmon – 340 IU each 100 g
  • Canned tuna – 235 IU each 100 g
  • Chicken eggs – 20 IU each 60 g.
  • Mushrooms – (Variable)

For those who carry out a vegetarian diet, it is recommended to include some food sources to which they have been added. Foods fortified with vitamin D are:

  • Milk
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Orange juice
  • Other dairy products, such as yogurt
  • Soya drinks

Lack of Vitamin D – Symptoms and Consequences

Chronic lack of vitamin D increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by 35% and developing some types of cancer by up to 14% (1).

A mild lack of vitamin D can lead to bone loss, osteoporosis, and fractures. Acute failure can lead to severe consequences such as rickets, a disease that causes bones to become soft and bend.

Studies link a lack of vitamin D to diabetes, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. There is still more research to confirm the effects on the body of a lack of vitamin D.

Hypervitaminosis D What is it, and what are its symptoms?

Too much of this vitamin can cause serious health consequences. Hypervitaminosis can occur from the misuse of supplements or in children from intoxication due to the intake of cosmetics.

Hypervitaminosis D from food is rare. The most frequent cause is the combination of multivitamin supplements, fish oil, and Omega-3 capsules with the addition of vitamins. The symptoms of hypervitaminosis D are:

  • Constipation
  • High pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Humor changes
  • Irritability
  • Muscular fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • But excessive
  • Anorexia

Vitamin D is one of the essential fat-soluble nutrients. Its primary function is the hormonal balance and maintaining the health of the skin and bones. The recommended amount of vitamin D per day varies by age. The usual is about 400-800 IU. The equivalent of about 150 g of foods such as fatty fish and beef liver. A more significant amount is recommended for older adults. Its lack or excess can cause severe symptoms in the body.

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