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The Benefits and Sources of Vitamin D

Updated on December 12, 2017
lambservant profile image

Lori is working hard at living a healthier life by eating better and taking helpful supplements, and yes, she's feeling better.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin - fat soluble means it is absorbed into the fat. There are several types of Vitamin D, but only two are necessary for humans. Vitamin D2 is also called ergocalciferol, and D3 cholecalciferol. D2 comes from fortified foods, plant foods and supplements. D3 from animal foods, fortified foods and from the sunlight. Thus, Vitamin D is also referred to the "sunshine" vitamin.

Why do we need Vitamin D?

We hear a lot about the importance of Vitamin D. The benefits are limited, but what it does provide is important and necessary. Vitamin D's primary purpose in the human body is to promote better calcium absorption. It is a good way to prevent osteoporosis in addition to Calcium supplements.

There have been numerous studies on what Vitamin D can do for the human body in addition to helping the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D has been found to:

  • regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system as well
  • reduce the risk of allergies
  • prevent and/or treat seasonal depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD)
  • regulate cholesterol

Studies are still going on today to find out more ways Vitamin D might be useful for our bodies. Some studies are indicating that Vitamin D may decrease the mortality rate in cancer. There needs to be more research.

Non Food sources of Vitamin D

Sunlight is the number one source of Vitamin D; however with the dangers of ultra-violet rays, it is recommended to apply sunscreen SPF 8 or more. The human body actually creates Vitamin D when directly (not through windows) exposed to the sun. Most people who get adequate sun exposure do not need supplements. People who live in climates with less sun need to take more care to get Vitamin D into their bodies.

  • Tanning beds also works as sunlight but there is higher risk of cancer with overuse of them.
  • Vitamin D supplements. The Institute of Medicine recommends Vitamin D-3 as most effective.
  • Fish oil capsules or cod liver oil are excellent ways to receive the Vitamin D your body needs.

Foods with Vitamin D

Following is a list of foods that provide the most Vitamin D:

  • Salmon, particularly wild salmon. One small filet can give you as much or more of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D.
  • Tuna. Tuna offers one third of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D. Light tuna in water is about one fourth the recommended dose.
  • Sole, flounder, and cod are all high in Vitamin D.
  • Mushrooms, particularly Shitake musrooms.
  • Fortified milk of any kind
  • Soy milk
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Fortified cereal is surprisingly a very good source of Vitamin D
  • Eggs. Two eggs provide one tenth of the daily allowance.
  • Beef Liver

Salmon has a high amount of Vitamin D.
Salmon has a high amount of Vitamin D. | Source

Recommended daily dose

This list starts from newborns all the way up to old age.

  • 0-6 months: 400 IU to 1,000 IU
  • 6-12 months: 400 IU to 1,500 IU
  • 1-4 years: 400 IU to 2,500IU
  • 4-8 years: 600 IU to 3,000 IU
  • 9-70years: 600 IU to 4,000 IU
  • 71 +: 800 IU to 4,000 IU

How do you get your source of Vitamin D?

See results

© 2012 Lori Colbo


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    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Paradise, the main benefit of Vitamin D is that it helps your body absorb calcium so it's a good way to help with the osteoporosis issue.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Interesting. I didn't know that tuna was a good source of vitamin D. I do drink fortified milk--I hope that does it. As I get older, I'm more focussed and concerned about things like osteoporosis.