Vitamin D – The “Sunsine” Vitamin

August 28, 2010 | Health Advice | By: Jennifer Brull

Vitamin D, known by many as the “sunshine” vitamin due to its production by the body when exposed to sunlight, is gaining national attention due to its proposed link to protecting against many health problems. Typically, a deficiency in vitamin D causes rickets; a disease identified when bone does not mineralize properly which can lead to soft bones and skeleton deformities. Recent research has shown vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness may mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:
• increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
• cognitive impairment in older adults
• severe asthma in children
• cancer

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the following guidelines have been recommended for daily intake of vitamin D:
• infants and children up to age 18: 400 IU per day
• adults, ages 18-50: 400-800 IU per day
• adults over age 50: 800-1000 IU per day

Vitamin D can be obtained by obtaining 15-30 minutes of sunlight per day (making sure to use adequate sunscreen to prevent from harmful UV radiation), eating foods rich in vitamin D, and taking a supplement if necessary.

Please ask your provider if you have concerns about your vitamin D level.

This article courtesy of Tyrel Sommers, KU Medical Student