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The Basics of Vitamin D

The word Vitamin D with a small cup of Vitamin D3 capsules on itVitamin D is essential for bone strength and proper bodily functioning. It even plays a role in mood and can help decrease anxiety and depression. Read about the basics of vitamin D below.

Overview: When most people think about vitamin D, they think about sunlight and being outdoors. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that is vital to calcium absorption. The presence of vitamin D is essential in effective and efficient calcium absorption. Both calcium and vitamin D are important building blocks of bone tissue and help promote growth and bone remodeling as well as to prevent osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Vitamin D also plays an important role in neuronal signaling and immunity.

Sources: Vitamin D is found in some foods and is often supplemented. Foods containing relatively high levels of vitamin D include dairy milk and cereals due to product fortification. This means that vitamin D is added to the product in during production. Other foods such as beef, egg yolks, and fatty fish have some vitamin D but the levels are not very high. Vitamin D can also be produced internally when UV light contacts the skin and triggers vitamin D production.

Supplementation: Because of vitamin D’s scarcity in foods as well as its importance in cellular functions, vitamin D is often supplemented. The NIH recommends that vitamin D be supplemented at 600 IU (15 mcg) per day. Of note, vitamin D is absorbed best by the intestines in the presence of fat.


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