Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is important in the body for many reasons. The most well know effect on vitamin D is the beneficial effects on bone health. Without vitamin D, dietary calcium absorption is diminished and stores of calcium are depleted, which can result in weakening of existing bone and diminished formation of new bone. There is evidence that vitamin D has life-long health benefits. Recent studies have strengthened the evidence that adequate vitamin D intake may help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. It may improve muscle strength and prevent falls.
The primary source of vitamin D in humans is sunlight. Due to the concerns about skin cancer, our exposure to direct sunlight has diminished. Other factors such as sunscreens, clouds, air pollution, geographic location, and clothing have also diminished our exposure to sunlight. These factors make it difficult for the body to produce the amount of vitamin D recommended. As a result, dietary supplementation becomes necessary.
Vitamin D in the diet
Dietary sources of vitamin D are limited. Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fish, some fish oils, liver and fat from aquatic animals. Also, fortified milk also contains vitamin D.
Recommended Dietary Intake
Children: 600 IU per day
Adults: 800-1000 IU per day
Treatment of Vitamin D deficiency
To treat a deficiency, it is recommended to take 50,000 IU once a week (this is prescription strength)