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Taking daily vitamin D has many health benefits. Vitamin D helps regulate various bodily processes. Also, research has shown that vitamin D may prevent certain medical conditions. Toxic in large amounts, one should never take more than a singe dose every day.
Vitamin D is synthesized within the human body when ultraviolet light from the sun comes into contact with skin. Vitamin D is also present in a number of foods, such as many species of fish. The vitamin plays a large role in both bone growth and maintaining healthy bones later in life. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in children and brittle bones in adults. Supplementing one's diet with daily vitamin D can prevent against these conditions.
Besides having beneficial effects on bone density, daily vitamin D also helps with many bodily processes. One is assisting the immune system. This is especially important as winter is characterized by both seasonal diseases and limited exposure to sunlight. Taking vitamin D during this time of year can make up for staying indoors and give extra protection against the flu.
An area of research where daily vitamin D is showing promise is in preventing type 2 diabetes. Though many lifestyle changes are needed to prevent this disorder, vitamin D appears to have a positive effect on preventing insulin tolerance. It is unknown whether vitamin D has any effect on type 2 diabetes after the condition has already developed. Nevertheless, as vitamin D assists in overall bodily health, daily vitamin D supplements should be a part of the lives of those at risk for diabetes.
Decades of research have shown a link between increased vitamin D and lower incidents of some cancers. Though the biological mechanism is still unknown, adults who receive more sunlight are less prone to develop colon cancer. Further research is necessary to determine whether low levels of vitamin D increase one's chances of developing colon cancer.
All daily vitamin D supplements are measured in International Units (IU). A single pill or gelcap represents a daily dose. Under the age of 50, the recommended daily dose is 200 IU. Between 51 and 70, 400 IU is recommended. For adults older than 71, a person should receive 600 IU of vitamin D every day.
Like many substances, vitamin D is toxic in large amounts. Though many supplements come in daily doses above recommended levels, they are safe as vitamin D toxicity does not occur in adults until 5,000-10,000 IU. As body mass determines the precise level of toxicity, one should always consult a doctor before giving daily vitamin D to his or her child.