The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids. In humans, vitamin D is unique because it can be ingested as cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) or ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and because the body can also synthesize it (from cholesterol) when sun exposure is adequate (hence its nickname, the "sunshine vitamin"). The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and for other important jobs.

The effects of vitamin D supplementation on health are uncertain. Vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia (a bone-thinning disorder), this can cause increased falls from weak muscles and low bone density.

Low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with increased mortality. Both an excess and a deficiency in vitamin D appear to cause abnormal functioning and premature aging. Vitamin D appears to have effects on immune function. A lack of vitamin D synthesis during the winter is one explanation for high rates of influenza infection during the winter.

Foods and drinks that have a lot of vitamin D include:
  • Milk, orange juice, or yogurt with vitamin D added
  • Cooked salmon or mackerel
  • Canned tuna fish
  • Cereals with vitamin D added
  • Cod liver oil
The body uses sunlight that shines on the skin to make vitamin D, 80% of our vitamin D can be obtained if we are able to get it. The sun with the listed foods above are great ways to ensure your body is getting the required amount of vitamin D. Remember to limit time in the sun or use suncreen.

For more information on Vitamin D and other supplements visit the LiVe Well Center at the Park City Medical Center(435)333-3535