Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, Vitamin D Deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of Vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a Vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people the symptoms are subtle. Yet, 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
Severe asthma in children
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons
You don’t consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if you follow a strict vegan diet because most of the natural sources are animal-based including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk, and beef liver H
The recommended daily value is 20 Mcg (800 IU) of Vitamin D Per Day From Foods
Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure. During the winter, Vitamin D deficiency can be more prevalent because there is less sunlight available.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for optimal health.
Yet, very few foods contain this vitamin, Thus, it can be difficult to get enough of this nutrient from your diet, particularly if you’re vegetarian.
“Here are some good sources of Vitamin D for Vegetarian”
Your skin can produce Vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Most people get at least some of their Vitamin D this way.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), exposing your face, arms, legs, or back to sunlight for 5–30 minutes twice a week — without sunscreen — is usually sufficient to generate optimal Vitamin D levels.
However, depending on your geographical location or climate, it may not be practical to achieve this degree of direct sun exposure
Additional factors, such as the season, time of day, and degree of pollution or smog, as well as your age, skin color, and sunscreen use, also affect your skin’s ability to produce enough Vitamin D.
For instance, smog or an overcast day may reduce the strength of UV rays by up to 60%. Moreover, older adults and those with darker skin tones may require significantly longer than 30 minutes of sun exposure to produce sufficient Vitamin D.
That said, excess sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer. Hence, the American Academy of Dermatology urges people not to rely on the sun as their main source of Vitamin D
Your skin produces Vitamin D following direct exposure to the sun. However, several factors can reduce your body’s Vitamin D generation, and excess sun exposure isn’t recommended, as it may raise your risk of skin cancer.
Cheese is a natural source of Vitamin D
Most Varieties contain 0.2–0.6 mcg of Vitamin D per 50 gram serving. Levels vary based on the way the cheese is manufactured.
Some kinds can also be fortified with Vitamin D, and this will be indicated on the label or ingredient list.
- Although some foods naturally contain small amounts of Vitamin D, a variety of products are fortified with this nutrient. Although fortification standards vary by country, a few of these foods include:
- Cow’s milk. Depending on the country you live in, you can expect 1 cup of milk to contain up to 3 mcg of Vitamin D
- Nondairy beverages. Plant Milks like soy, rice, oat, or almond milk and orange juice are often fortified with similar amounts of Vitamin D as cow’s milk. They may provide up to 2.5 mcg of Vitamin D per 1 cup of 250 ml
- Yogurt. Some dairy and nondairy yogurts are fortified in Vitamin D, giving around 1.3 mcg of this vitamin per 100 grams
- Tofu. Not all tofus are fortified, but those that are offer around 2.5 mcg per 100 grams
- Hot and cold cereals. Oatmeal and ready to eat cereals are often fortified with Vitamin D, with 1/2 cup providing up to 3 mcg depending on the variety
- Margarine. Unlike butter, which is not typically fortified with Vitamin D, One tablespoon (10-15 mg approx) usually provides around 0.5 mcg
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- Excluding fortified foods,mushrooms are the only good plant source of Vitamin D.
- Like humans, mushrooms can synthesize this vitamin when exposed to UV light
- However, mushrooms produce Vitamin D2, whereas animals produce Vitamin D3.333
- Though Vitamin D2 helps raise blood levels of Vitamin D, it may not be as effective as Vitamin D3
- Nonetheless,wild mushrooms are excellent sources of Vitamin D2.
- On the other hand, commercially grown mushrooms are often grown in the dark and contain very little D2.
- Fortified foods
- Natural sources of Vitamin D are limited, especially if you’re vegetarian or don’t like fish.
- Fortunately, some food products that don’t naturally contain Vitamin D are fortified with this nutrient.
- Cow’s milk
- Cow’s milk, the most commonly consumed type of milk is naturally a good source of many nutrients, including calcium, phosphorous, and riboflavin.
- In several countries, cow’s milk is fortified with Vitamin D.
- Soy milk
- Because Vitamin D is found almost exclusively in animal products, vegetarians and vegans are at a particularly high risk of not getting enough
- For this reason, plant based milk substitutes like soy milk are often fortified with this nutrient and other vitamins and minerals usually found in cow’s milk.
- Orange juice
- One cup of fortified orange juice with breakfast can start your day off with up to 100 IU of Vitamin D
- The bottom line
- Spending time in the sun is a good way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. However, sufficient sun exposure is difficult for many people to achieve.
- Getting enough from your diet alone may be difficult, but not impossible.
- The foods listed in this article are some of the top sources of Vitamin D available.
- Eating plenty of these vitamin-D-rich foods
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