What is Vitamin D? [1]

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient required to support and maintain bone health along with aiding muscle function and immunity.  Vitamin D helps in the absorption of phosphate, magnesium and calcium in our bodies to support and protect our teeth, prevent the loss of bone mass, support healthy muscles to help us grow and function well.  A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone pain known as osteomalacia in adults and even bone deformities in children.

Common signs of vitamin D deficiency [1]

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness and joint pain
  • Pale skin
  • Wheezing
  • Mood swings
  • Infections
  • High blood pressure

Sources of Vitamin D [2,3]

The best source of vitamin D is from the sun. Our bodies convert sunlight into vitamin D after it hits unprotected skin. If you’re living in Sri Lanka and are able to get in at least one hour of midday sun, at least twice a week this provides adequate vitamin D to support your health. The type of vitamin D we get from sunlight is known as D3. This is also found in oily fish, cod liver oil. Vitamin D2 comes from plants and fungi which include mushrooms carefully grown under UV light.

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel are great sources of vitamin D. Other foods like beef liver, egg yolks only provide a small amount of vitamin D. Some foods could be fortified with vitamin D for instance, milk, yoghurt, cheese etc. Therefore, it is always important to check the nutrition information label at the back of the product to spot vitamin D on the food item.

Nevertheless, certain individuals may need some extra support through Vitamin D and may need to take an artificial supplement along with vitamin D rich food sources form their diet. Older adults, infants, individuals with chronic medical conditions, may require an additional supplement to support health and wellbeing. Taking a vitamin D supplement will never be able to replace a well-balanced diet. Nevertheless, the multivitamin can support your overall health. If you’re taking a vitamin D supplement in excess for a long period of time, it can cause too much of buildup in the body which can weaken bones and affect kidney and heart function.

References

  1. nhs.uk. Vitamins and minerals – Vitamin D. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d (2)
  2. nhs.uk. 2021. How to get vitamin D from sunlight. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-get-vitamin-d-from-sunlight/ (6)
  3. Lamberg-Allardt C. Vitamin D in foods and as supplements. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. 2006;92(1):33-38.
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