Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. Your body makes vitamin D in the presence of sunlight when your skin is exposed to sunlight. This is the main and easy source of the vitamin. It is also present in a few foods such as egg yolks, some fish, fish liver oils, and dairy and grain products that are fortified with vitamin D, but is not present in most foods. So, exposure to sunlight is essential to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D?
Vitamin D is necessary for healthy development of bones. It is a vital ingredient that helps your body use calcium to build and strengthen bones. If you do not get enough vitamin D, even if your diet is rich in calcium, your body will not be able to use it effectively. This will lead to soft and brittle bones, and development of bone deformities.
What are the health problems caused by vitamin D defiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can cause various health problems including:
- Soft and weak bones in children and older people (Rickets, Osteomalacia, Osteoporisis)
- Bone pain and muscle weakness
- Heart disease and hypertension
- Frequent infections and immune system disorders
- Certain cancers
- Multiple sclerosis
- Decreased mental faculties in older people
- Depression and fatigue
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and to prevent various diseases. You can prevent these health problems by ensuring adequate intake of vitamin D. Vegan diets that exclude all animal products including milk can lead to insufficient intake of vitamin D as the vitamin is found mostly in fish, fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk and beef liver. Vegan sources of vitamin D are limited to mushrooms, fortified soy milk, fortified orange juice and fortified cereals. Sunlight is the best and easiest way to get vitamin D for vegans.
If you feel you may have a deficiency and are unable to get enough sunlight then you can boost your vitamin D intake with supplements prescribed by your doctor.
If you have any of the symptoms of vitamin D, consult a doctor for a remedy.