Vitamin D: What is it?

All you need to know about vitamin D and how it affects your growth, your height
By: George Peckinson
Oct. 1, 2009 - PRLog -- Vitamin D, calciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin which is found in food, but it can also be made in your body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. Vitamin D exists in several forms, each with a different activity though some forms are relatively inactive in the body, and have limited ability to function as a vitamin. The liver and kidney help convert vitamin D to its active hormone form. The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It also aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. It promotes bone mineralization in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones. Without it, bones can become thin, brittle, soft, or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, which are skeletal diseases that result in defects that weaken bones.

What are the sources of vitamin D?

Food sources

Fortified foods are the major dietary sources of vitamin D. Prior to the fortification of milk products in the 1930s, rickets (a bone disease seen in children) was a major public health problem in the United States. Milk in the United States is fortified with 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D per quart where rickets is now uncommon.
One cup of vitamin D fortified milk supplies about one-fourth of the estimated daily need for adults. Although milk is fortified with vitamin D, dairy products made from milk such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream are generally not fortified with it. Only a few foods naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D, including fatty fish and fish oils. The table of selected food sources of vitamin D suggests dietary sources of vitamin D.

Exposure to sunlight

Exposure to sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Season, latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and sunscreens affect UV ray exposure. For example, in Boston the average amount of sunlight is insufficient to produce significant vitamin D synthesis in the skin from November through February. Sunscreens with a sun protection factor of 8 or greater will block UV rays that produce vitamin D, but it is still important to routinely use sunscreen whenever sun exposure is longer than 10 to 15 minutes. It is especially important for individuals with limited sun exposure to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet. For information on how to increase your height click here
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Page Updated Last on: Oct 01, 2009
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