Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin is one of the vital fat-soluble vitamins and the only nutrient the body produces when exposed to sunlight. It is produced when UV rays from the sunlight strike the skin which activates vitamin D synthesis. It is available in two active forms such as Vitamin D3 also known as Cholecalciferol, which is naturally produced in the body and Vitamin D2, known as Ergocalciferol which should be supplemented from the diet. Also Read: Vitamin D – Functions, Food Sources, Deficiencies and Toxicity
This fat-soluble vitamin plays a crucial role in several bodily processes and functions. It has a significant role in promoting calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate calcium levels in the body which enhances bone growth, development and remodelling. It lowers the risk of bone fracture, fortifies the bones and maintains balance and skeletal structure.
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Vitamin D is also involved in cell growth, repair and metabolism, neuromuscular and immune function, supports wound healing, dental health and normal functioning of kidneys. It also helps to maintain normal body weight, as adequate levels of vitamin D triggers the functioning of the appetite hormone leptin which keeps you satiated and aids in weight loss.
Vitamin D deficiency may lead to low bone mineral density, leading to rickets, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia and increases the risk of fracture. Besides this, it may also lead to increased risk of infections, poor wound healing and generalised fatigue and weakness.
Though sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, it is also abundant in natural food sources like fortified dairy products, mushroom, fatty fish and eggs. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D for normal adults is 600 IU.
Checkout the infographic to know about foods abundant in vitamin D.