Vitamin D is part of the fat-soluble family of vitamins which is mainly attained through the sunshine when the ultraviolet sun ray work on the oil of the skin to produce the vitamin which is then absorbed into the body.
Vitamin D is also absorbed by the body when taken orally through the walls of the intestine. A new study recently published in the British Medical Journal advocates the taking of Vitamin D supplements to protect against respiratory infections and common colds during the winter months.
The benefits of Vitamin D are:
- when taken with Vitamin A and C can aid in the prevention of colds.
- helps in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
- helps the proper operation of calcium and phosphorus necessary for strong bones and teeth.
- aids in assimilating Vitamin A.
- Clouds and Smog reduce the vitamin D production from the sunshine rays.
- The amount of skin exposed to the sun, as well as amount of sun cream used, affects the level of Vitamin D that you will attain.
- After a suntan is established, vitamin d production through the skin stops.
Deficiency in Vitamin D will cause diseases such as Rickets, severe tooth decay, osteomalacia and osteoporosis. To find out if you are low in Vitamin D you should ask your Doctor to have a Vitamin D blood test to determine if you are low in this vitamin.
Foods with Vitamin D are:
Fish Liver oils, sardines, herring, salmon, tuna, milk and dairy products.
Vitamin D is measured in International units (IU) and it is usually supplied in 400iu (10mcg) capsules. The vitamin itself is derived from fish liver oil and the daily dosage recommendation is between 400 to 1000iu (10 to100mcg). The Department of Health recommends a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D should be supplemented by those people that are not exposed to the sun, such as babies and young children, people in care, frail and those who are confined to their house or institutions.
Vitamin D dose of 5000iu (125mcg) daily might affect some individuals adversely and over an extended period can produce toxic effects in adults.
The sign of harmful levels is unusually thirst, stinging eyes, itchiness of the skin, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, urinary urgency, irregular calcium deposits in blood vessels walls, lungs, kidney, liver and the stomach.
- It is recommended that people who live in places with a low level of sunshine should increase their Vitamin-D intake.
- Night workers and others whose lifestyle keeps them from sunlight should increase in the Vitamin D in their diet.
- Children who don’t drink D fortified milk should increase their intake of D.
- Dark-skinned people living in northern climates generally need to increase their intake of Vitamin D
From the recent study published, it makes sense to increase your level of Vitamin D during the months of September to March when the sun ray is at their lowest. Those are the months when more forms of cold and flu-like symptoms increase. It’s no coincidence that 80-90% of Vitamin D is produced from when the skin is exposed to the sunshine. So, if you cannot boost your Vitamin D levels from the sunshine, supplement to fight the cold during the winter months is advised.