From the childhood, you've probably heard ofttimes that taking enough vitamins and minerals is extremely important part of healthy life.
That's right, without vitamins, minerals and nutritive elements your body loses ability to function properly.
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Most vitamins can't be produced by your tissues and organs. So the only way to get them is to eat balanced diet or take special supplements.
There is only one vitamin, which is generated by your skin cells, when you stay in the sunlight. Let's get acquainted with “sunshine” vitamin D.
This fat-soluble element plays very important role in your bone health and immune response. In addition to this, it takes part in carrying nerve signals from and to the brain, as well as it regulates muscle movements.
When your organism processes vitamin D, it transforms into hormone calcitriol, which is essential for calcium absorption.
So, our bodies create vitamin D during exposure to ultraviolet radiation. But it doesn't mean that your organism secretes as much vitamin, as your neighbour's or someone's who lives in another part of the world.
Amount of produced microelement depends on the country you live, season, you skin color and age.
People with darker skin have much more of pigment melanin. This protects them from harmful influence of UV rays, but on the other hand, it takes longer for them to generate enough vitamin D in the sunlight.
It's also possible that you're night worker, who stays indoors when the sun shines. Or maybe you live in the Northern Hemisphere, where there is too few sunlight, especially in the winter. If this is about you, you may fail to secrete enough sunshine element.
Some people find it difficult to get enough sun rays for optimal vitamin D production, as they cover the skin and use sunscreens all the time when being outdoors.
Aging can also impair production of this element.
According to recent recommendations, babies from 0 to 12 months should get 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D. Starting from one year old, daily requirements raise to 600 IU. For older adults (70 years old and above) it's very important to take not less than 800 IU of vitamin D in order to maintain bone density and adequate immune function.
Specialists say that nearly 42% of American people are recognized as vitamin D deficient.
In small children, insufficient vitamin D intake may result in soft-bone disease – rickets.
Deficient adults often suffer from bone pain and muscle weakness. If you don't fill your body's needs for vitamin D for a long time, it may lead to bone loss, osteoporosis and fractures.
Actually sunlight is not the only source of vitamin D. You can also get it, adding more oily fish, cheese, egg yolks and fortified products (cereals, orange juice, milk etc.) to your ration.
Doctors commonly recommend taking over-the-counter supplements to breast-fed babies, who are at high-risk group for vitamin D deficiency.
Special supplements may be also recommended for some adults, who can't meet the needs of this element through dietary sources and sun rays.
It's worth knowing that overdosing vitamin D is harmful for your health too. This causes nausea, vomiting, constipation, extreme weakness, reduced appetite and kidney dysfunction.
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However this is very rare trouble, as overdosis occurs only if a person consumes too much supplements for extended period of time.
Be aware that vitamin D supplements can interact with certain medications, such as steroids, anticonvulsants and weight-loss pills.
The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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