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Five Facts You May Not Know about Vitamin D


Vitamin D is necessary for maintaining good health, but 40 to 75% of the world's population is deficient. The vitamin is not found in many foods. Fortified milk, eggs, fish and beef liver are some of the few containing vitamin D and even in these the amounts may be small.

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Instead, vitamin D is generally made by the skin after exposing it to sunshine. As people spend more time inside and wear sunscreen and long sleeves when they are outside, it is no surprise that the population is desperately deficient. This article lists five facts about vitamin D that many people do not know to explain why they need it and how they can get it.

  1. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many physical problems. Vitamin D deficiency has long been known to cause rickets, a type of bone disease, in growing children. That is why vitamin D is added to milk in so many countries. However, many other problems are linked to a lack of vitamin D. Depression, cancer, multiple sclerosis, skin problems, bone problems, weak fingernails, and even diabetes are all correlated with vitamin D deficiency.
  2. Your city's latitude will affect your absorption of vitamin D. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, because it is produced by the skin when it is exposed to sunshine. However, if you live above the 37th parallel, in winter the sun's rays will not create vitamin D because they will be at the wrong angle. Cities on the 37th parallel in the northern hemisphere include San Francisco in California, Athens in Greece and Seoul in South Korea. Melbourne in Australia is a city on the 37th parallel in the southern hemisphere.
  3. Obesity increases the need for vitamin D. People who are overweight often have trouble maintaining the right levels of vitamin D in their systems, because fat cells tend to absorb vitamin D, taking it out of circulation in the blood. If a persons BMI is greater than 30, they may want to take vitamin D supplements to make up for this problem.
  4. Soap can wash off vitamin D. Most people know that their skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunshine. However, they may not realize that skin needs time to manufacture the vitamin and then to absorb it into the body for use. Skin continues manufacturing and absorbing vitamin D even after people go indoors.
  5. Mushrooms can make vitamin D. Mushrooms can supply as much of the vitamin as some over-the-counter supplements. They function in a manner similar to human skin in that they first need to be exposed to sunshine to make the vitamin. Take fresh mushrooms of any variety and then put them on a plate out in the sunshine for thirty minutes to an hour. The sunshine between ten in the morning and three in the afternoon provides the best ultraviolet rays for this.

Vitamin D is vital to good looks and good health. Given how much of the world's population is deficient, the lack has made people vulnerable to many physical problems. By taking supplements or by managing careful exposure to the sun, the deficiency in vitamin D can be corrected and many problems avoided.