What is the Importance of Vitamin D for Health?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2019
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Many people supplement vitamin D for health reasons, as it aids in calcium absorption and bone strengthening and helps the body ward off disease. Although supplementation helps maintain appropriate vitamin D levels, vitamin D toxicity can adversely affect some if too much of the essential nutrient is taken in. Other ways of obtaining vitamin D for health include daily sunshine and eating foods naturally high in this nutrient.

As a fat soluble vitamin, vitamin D is sold in most grocery and health food stores. It is also prevalent in foods, many of which have been fortified with vitamin D for health reasons. A few of these foods include milk, breakfast bars and some cereals. Vitamin D is also naturally present in certain fish varieties, some orange juice brands, some yogurt brands and is naturally present in eggs.

Another primary source of vitamin D for health is sunlight. It is not uncommon, therefore, for individuals who do not spend enough time outdoors or who cover their skin with sunblock and protective clothing to develop a vitamin D deficiency. Health experts recommend that individuals take supplemental forms of vitamin D for health if they are not exposed to enough sunlight, as well as increase the consumption of vitamin D foods in the diet as often as possible.


Actively obtaining vitamin D for health either by supplementation or via natural sources is important to help the body metabolize calcium. Whether entering the body through skin absorption or by digestion, vitamin D enters the bloodstream and is carried to the liver where it is metabolized and able to assist in calcium absorption. This essential vitamin also assists in maintaining appropriate levels of phosphorus in the body’s bloodstream.

A vitamin D deficiency, however, results in conditions such as rickets, osteoporosis and increases the likelihood of broken bones. These conditions are largely due to bone weakness, which is common in children and elderly people who are deficient in this vitamin. Research further indicates that individuals deficient in vitamin D also have a higher risk of developing cancer and high blood pressure.

While vitamin D for health is highly recommended by health experts, there is danger in taking too many supplements. Vitamin D toxicity occurs when a person has too much of the nutrient in the bloodstream or in the liver. Symptoms of toxicity may include constipation, nausea, vomiting, a loss of appetite and unintended weight loss. Vitamin D toxicity may also have an adverse affect on calcium levels, which may lead to changes in heart rhythm. Toxicity does not result from overexposure to sun, nor does it generally occur from a diet containing foods high in vitamin D, but it is more likely to occur when too many supplements are taken.



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