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How does your body produce vitamin D?


How does your body produce vitamin D?

Vitamin D is often referred to as "the sunshine vitamin" because sunlight is one of the best sources of this nutrient. A type of cholesterol found in your skin serves as a precursor to vitamin D. When exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun, this compound transforms into vitamin D.

Vitamin D and Bone Health

When you think about Vitamin D and your health, one of the first things that come to mind is the role it plays in keeping your skeleton strong. 

Vitamin D is best known for its role in dental, joint, and bone health, as well as for assisting the body with calcium absorption. 

Calcium is the primary structural component of your skeleton. To stay healthy, your body requires a daily dose of Vitamin D.

According to research, people who get enough Vitamin D are less likely to develop osteoporosis and joint pain. 

For many people, another advantage of vitamin D is relief from arthritis and back pain. If you suffer from any of these common ailments, relief may be as simple as a small change in your daily routine. 

Try incorporating a daily walk outside into your routine, as well as eating the right foods and taking a Vitamin D supplement.

How Can You Make Enough Vitamin D?

The body produces vitamin D naturally. However, in order for the body to produce it, the skin must be exposed to sufficient sunlight.

How much sunlight is required? Many sources claim that just 10 minutes a day is enough time to generate enough Vitamin D to meet your body's needs.

This amounts to about an hour of direct sunlight per week, but many people, surprisingly, do not get enough sun to produce the necessary amount of Vitamin D. 

Vitamin D deficiency is also exacerbated by the widespread use of sunscreen and sunblock products, particularly in northern areas.

Vitamin D Rich Foods

Even though the majority of Vitamin D is produced by exposing the skin to sunlight, there are some foods that naturally contain vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol.

Cold water fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, contain vitamin D. 

Cod liver oil and other fish liver oils contain vitamin D as well. If you don't like fish, there are many supplements available that don't have that fishy taste.

Vitamin D is found in small amounts in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Most pasteurized, homogenized milk in the United States contains vitamin D, and you can also get a daily dose from certain breakfast cereals, orange juice, and milk substitutes such as soy milk.

Where Does Vitamin D Go?

Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the type of vitamin D that is formed when sunlight contacts the skin. 

When ultraviolet rays from the sun react with the cholesterol found naturally under the skin, the body produces it. 

Vitamin D3 is then "activated," or converted to a more active form of Vitamin D in the liver, before being delivered to where it is most needed in the body.

Some of this Vitamin D remains in the liver and kidneys, where it aids in calcium re-absorption from the blood. 

Another portion of Vitamin D is delivered to the intestines to aid calcium absorption from food. It also goes to the bones to aid in calcium retention.

While it is important to consume enough vitamin D, it is possible to consume too much vitamin D. 

This can happen if a person gets a lot of sun, eats a lot of vitamin D-rich foods, and takes a vitamin D supplement. 

If this describes you, speak with your doctor about whether you need a Vitamin D supplement as part of your diet.

When it comes to Vitamin D and its numerous benefits, it is important to remember that deficiency is the most common issue. 

In this day and age of desk jockeys, couch potatoes, and night owls, the chances of getting too much "sunshine vitamin" are slim.

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