Vitamin D

By: Kiesana Knox

About Vitamin D

Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. The vitamin D form synthesized in humans is called ‘cholecalciferol’. As cholecalciferol is synthesized in the skin by the action of ultraviolet light (UVB), vitamin D does not fit the classical definition of a vitamin; nevertheless, it is recognized as an essential dietary nutrient.

Foods High in Vitamin D

  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese.
  • Egg yolks
  • Dark Skin

    The melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color) in darker skin protects against sun damage, but it can also block the sun needed to produce vitamin D.Vitamin D insufficiency is more prevalent among African Americans (blacks) than other Americans and, in North America, most young, healthy blacks do not achieve optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations at any time of year. This is primarily due to the fact that pigmentation reduces vitamin D production in the skin. Also, from about puberty and onward, median vitamin D intakes of American blacks are below recommended intakes in every age group, with or without the inclusion of vitamin D from supplements.

    Roles In Body

    Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation.Many genes encoding proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis are modulated in part by vitamin D.
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    Vitamin D contained in Foods

    Very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. The flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Vitamin D in these foods is primarily in the form of vitamin D3 and its metabolite.Mushrooms with enhanced levels of vitamin D2 from being exposed to ultraviolet light under controlled conditions are also available.
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