Vitamin D production from the skin is the primary natural source of vitamin D but many people have too little vitamin D because they live in places where sunlight is limited, especially in winter, and they limit sunlight too much. Since people with darker skin tend to have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood, pigment melanin, which acts as a shade reduces production of vitamin D to reduce the harmful effects of sunlight on the skin, including skin cancer. Melanin also reduces the ability of the skin to produce vitamin D. People with darker skin are less able to produce vitamin D from sunlight.
People who are obese can bind their body fat to vitamin D and prevent it from getting into the blood. People with diseases such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease cannot deal with fat because vitamin D needs fat to be absorbed. People with malabsorption syndrome may need more vitamin D, especially in people with high fat loss or stool steatorrhea.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin known to help the body absorb and store calcium and phosphorus because these nutrients are critical for bone growth. Vitamin D deficiency can cause a loss of bone density which can cause osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Many organs and tissues in the body have receptors for vitamin D, suggesting an important role for overall health. Currently, scientists are also studying other possible functions Vitamin D may have in the body. Laboratory studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce the growth of cancer cells, control infections and reduce inflammation.
Vitamin D supplements can be used to treat adults with severe vitamin D deficiency that may cause bone mineral loss, bone pain, muscle weakness and soft bone osteomalacia. Vitamin D supplements are also used to treat hereditary diseases such as familial hypophosphatemia due to the inability to absorb or process vitamin D. Research suggests that vitamin D supplementation can reduce risk of Multiple Sclerosis over time.
Studies suggest that people who consume enough vitamin D and calcium can slow bone mineral loss that can prevent osteoporosis and reduce bone fractures. Although vitamin D is essential for good health, cholesterol also plays a role in the production of vitamin D by sunlight.
Those who avoid the sun, suffer from a milk allergy or follow a strict vegan diet may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency can cause bone problems such as rickets that can lead in children to flexed legs, muscle weakness and painfully tender bones in adults. Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium and phosphorus from your diet and use it to strengthen your bones, teeth and muscles.
Vitamin D also comes from a small number of food sources, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, COD, herring and sardines, red meat and eggs. From the end of March to the beginning of April until the end of September, most people are able to obtain the vitamin D they need from sunlight. Too much sunlight can lead to ageing and skin cancer, because of cancer risks many people try to get their vitamin D from other sources such as vitamin supplements.
People with darker skin are less able to produce vitamin D from the sun. As an older adult, your skin can’t produce vitamin D without being exposed to sunlight but when you are younger your kidneys are able to convert vitamin D into its active form.
The majority of people can get their vitamin D from supplements or vitamin D-fortified foods. Doctor’s who treats patients with melanoma, usually like the public to be informed tha tanning beds are not best ways to get vitamin D, but a dietary supplement can be justified and recommended in stead of tanning bed exposure or sunlight. Some people who are not dermatologists or experts in the biology of skin cancer advocate tanning to get the vitamin D our bodies need. But, we know that UVB light can cause skin cancer, so it makes sense to protect yourself from skin cancer by taking a supplement instead.
Ask your doctor if you need calcium or vitamin D supplements to prevent or treat osteoporosis. If you do not have vitamin D deficiency or do not know you have vitamin D deficiency, it is a good idea to include foods that are fortified with vitamin D in your diet. High concentrations of vitamin D in supplements are not intended for the average person. Anyone who knows of a vitamin D deficiency should follow their doctor’s recommendations regarding the evaluation of supplements and laboratory work to ensure that they are correct. Most people can benefit from 2000IU per day of Vitamin D, but those in northern climates should consume 5000Iu to 10,000Iu per day to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D in the blood.