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What is the Function of Vitamin D?

By Lindsey Rivas
Updated May 17, 2024
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The main function of vitamin D is to increase the absorption of calcium in the body, but it has several other functions as well. Vitamin D promotes strong bones and a healthy immune system, and it might lower the risk of certain cancers. It can be found in many different foods, and the body naturally metabolizes it after exposure to sunlight. In order for the function of vitamin D to reach its full potential, it is necessary to get adequate amounts of it, although too much can be toxic.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is an essential nutrient for the body. The function of vitamin D is to increase the amount of calcium absorbed in the gut and the amount reabsorbed in the kidneys, which aids in the growth of strong bones and teeth. It also helps the body absorb phosphorus and regulates the immune system and neuromuscular system.

In addition, the function of vitamin D can be beneficial for treating certain conditions. For example, vitamin D in a lotion form is used to treat psoriasis. Some studies show that the vitamin might reduce the risk of certain cancers like breast cancer and colorectal cancer. It also increases bone density, which can protect the bones from osteoarthritis in adults. For children, getting the recommended amount of vitamin D can prevent soft bone diseases like rickets.

It is important to have the correct amount of vitamin D in the diet because a deficiency or overdose can lead to various medical conditions. A vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, bone deformities, hormone problems, and muscle weakness. Studies have also shown a deficiency to be linked to an increased risk of cancer. On the other hand, too much vitamin D can be toxic and result in kidney and heart problems.

There are many natural sources of vitamin D. The body produces and metabolizes vitamin D after sun exposure, but it typically requires 30 minutes a day of direct sunshine on the skin without sunscreen. The vitamin can also be found in many kinds of fish, dairy products, and fortified foods like cow’s milk and cereal. Additionally, several companies make vitamin D supplements for children and adults who do not get enough vitamin D from other sources.

The recommended dosage to receive the full benefits from the function of vitamin D can vary by doctor. In general, those under the age of 50 should have about 200-400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D on a daily basis. Those between ages 51 and 70 should have around 400 IU, and over age 70 should have 600-1,000 IU per day. Toxic levels of vitamin D are usually considered to be over 1,000 IU for children and 2,000 IU for adults.

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