Vitamin D is both a steroid hormone and a fat-soluble vitamin, and an essential nutrient for more than 400 biochemical functions in the body, including facilitation of normal immune function.
Nutritional sources of Vitamin D are a handful: egg yolk, beef liver, certain fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) and cod liver oil.
Others include: fortified foods (certain milk), dietary supplements, prescription drugs and sun exposure.
About 80 to 100 percent of the vitamin D we need can comes from the sun. The challenge is that most of us aren’t exposed to enough sunlight and the use of sunscreen and clothes blocks a lot of it.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D ‘sunshine vitamin’ is an important vitamin that we should not be deficient in, and it is rarely tested because it is wrongly assumed that your levels are good if you don’t see rickets anymore.
Vitamin D plays an overall health and well-being, including immune, bone, mental and reproductive health.
Common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include:
🌞Overweight and obesity: have more insufficiency due to higher body fat mass
🤸♂️Physically inactive adults need more Vit D than those that are physically active
🙋♀️Darker skin individuals have more melanin which leads to less Vitamin D absorption from the sun.
🥶In winter, the insufficiency tends to be 1-2 times higher.
🤱When a mother who is exclusively breastfeeding is deficient, it can worsen her situation and result in the baby being deficient
🌟Vitamin D from the sun is converted to the active forms - in three steps, first in the skin, then the liver, and finally the kidneys. In cases of liver or kidney diseases, conversion may be compromised.