Vitamins are organic compounds that are required by our body in minute amounts. Vitamins are divided into two groups namely water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins. Vitamin D is one of the fat soluble vitamins and is very essential for the body.
Fat soluble vitamins are soluble in fat but not in water. So if vitamin D is in excess, then it is not excreted in urine. So excess of vitamin D has some toxic effects while its deficiency leads to some diseases like rickets and osteomalacia. The daily requirement of vitamin D is 10 mcg for pregnant and lactating women. It is 2.5 mcg in adults and 5 mcg in infants and children. This daily requirement needs to be met.
You should know the sources of vitamin D which will help you to meet this daily requirement. Vitamin D is unique because it is derived from foods as well as sunlight. No other vitamin can be obtained from a natural source like sunlight. There is an enzyme called 7 dehydrocholesterol present in large abundance in the skin. When UV rays of sunlight falls over the skin, vitamin D is synthesized in the skin by the action of the rays on the stored enzyme.
So you should expose your skin to the sun. Exposure to Sunlight should be done till morning 10 to 11 am. Exposure to sun after this time can harm the skin, especially of people who are fair skinned. Cases of skin cancer are also reported if skin is over exposed to intense sunlight. Other sources of vitamin D are some foods. But vitamin D is found in foods of animal origin only. It is found in liver, egg yolk, butter, cheese and some species of fish.
Fish liver oils are considered the richest source of vitamin D. Halibut, cod and shark liver oil are some fish oils which contain good amounts of vitamin D. Recent studies show that along with calcium, human milk also contains considerable amount of water soluble vitamin D sulphate. Other sources of vitamin D are foods artificially fortified with vitamin D such as milk, margarine, and infant food.
So now that you know the sources of vitamin D, eat wisely to prevent vitamin D deficiency diseases.