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How is Vitamin D Important to the Bone?

What is the vitamin D and what does it do?

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Vitamin D belongs to a group of fat-soluble sec steroids. There are five forms of vitamin D. These include vitamin D1, vitamin D2, vitamin D3, vitamin D4, and vitamin D5.

Vitamin D can be synthesised in your skin when you are exposed to direct sunlight and can also be found in small quantities in some foods. The amount of vitamin D you get from the sun accounts for a bigger percentage of Calcium you need in a single day for healthy bones.

Vitamin D is responsible for facilitating the absorption of Calcium in the body during digestion. Without vitamin D, there will be less Calcium absorption which can result to a Calcium deficiency. Calcium deficiency can cause high rate of bone resorption making the bones weak and prone to fractures.

Vitamin D2 also known as ergocalciferol and vitamin D3 known as cholecalciferol are the most important forms of vitamin D to humans.

Vitamin D is not only important to the bones but to the general body. Your muscles need vitamin D so that they can be strong. The nerves need Calcium so that they can be able to carry messages to and from the brain to other parts of the body. Your immune system also needs Calcium so that it can fight bacteria and viruses.

What is the main function of vitamin D?

Vitamin D main function is to control the amount Calcium and Phosphorus in the body for healthy bones. Vitamin D ensures there is enough Calcium and Phosphorus in the body for metabolic processes including bone remodelling and formation.

How much vitamin D do we need?

The amount of vitamin D you need in a day depends on your age. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends the following amount of intake to different age groups:

Infants who are below 6 months require 400IU a day and the safe upper limit for them is 1000IU of vitamin D a day.

Infants who are between 6 months to 12 months require 400IU a day and their safe upper limit is 1500IU a day.

Children from the age of 1 to 3 years need 600IU of Calcium a day and their safe upper limit is 1500IU a day.

Children of 4 to 8 years need 600IU a day and their safe upper limit is 3000IU of Calcium a day.

People who are 9 to 70 years need 600IU a day and the safe upper limit is 4000IU a day while people who are 71 years or older need 800IU of Calcium a day and their safe upper limit is 4000IU of Calcium a day to keep their bones healthy.

Sources of vitamin D

The main source of vitamin D is the sun. Your skin makes its own vitamin D when you expose it to direct sunlight. The amount of vitamin D made in your skin depends with the length of exposure of the skin to the sun, your skin pigmentation; light skinned people will make a lot of vitamin D than dark skinned people when exposed to the sun for the same period of time.

Foods that are rich in vitamin D include egg yolk, mushroom, fortified cereals, dairy products, oysters, salami, ham, sausages and oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, and salmon. There is also vitamin D supplement such as cod liver oil.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in your body therefore you should always ensure you get the recommended daily intake to keep your bones healthy. If you are not able to get the required amount of vitamin D from your diet you can get it from the sun and supplements. Eat the vitamin D rich food for healthy bones.