Vitamin D is a very important vitamin that is produced in your body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Some even refer to it as a happiness vitamin as it can regulate the mood and reduce depression. Unfortunately, the deficiency of vitamin D is one of the most popular nutrition deficiencies in the world.
Sources of vitamin D
The main source of vitamin D is of course sunlight, but not all of us can enjoy the sunny weather all year round or have very short warm seasons. So another way that can help in reaching daily vitamin D intake norms is food:
- fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- egg yolks
- fortified milk
- fortified cereals and juices
- Orange juice fortified with vitamin D
How much vitamin D do you need per day?
When it comes to the intake recommendations, it varies depending on the person's age. And it is measured in micrograms(mcg) or international units (IU).
1 mcg of vitamin D = 40 IU
For babies, under 12 months the recommended daily intake is 400IU or 10 micrograms. In this age group, it is vital to be precise and make sure their nutrition is full of all necessary minerals. As research suggests the lack of vitamin D can increase the risk of growth delays.
For children and teenagers up to 18 years old, the recommended intake amount increases to 600IU or 15 micrograms. Sometimes the recommendations can suggest taking even a higher dose as it can help prevent the development of type 1 diabetes.
Under normal conditions when you don’t have a vitamin D deficiency or other diagnoses, daily vitamin D intake for adults should also vary around 600IU. However, older than 18-year-old adults should regularly check their health and improve their nutrition depending on the situation. And then the vitamin D intake norms can change drastically.
For example, if a person has a tendency for low vitamin D uptake, the dosage may increase to 2000 - 2500IU a day for health maintenance.
When a person reaches the elderly age, many internal processes have already changed. The skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D decreases so the recommended daily dose of vitamin D increases to 800IU or 20 micrograms.
You can also check how much vitamin D do you need with an interactive calculator here: Vitamin D Calculator
Vitamin D deficiency
How to know if you have a vitamin D deficiency? Well, first of all, vitamin D has many roles in the body, however, the most important ones are keeping the bones and muscles healthy and strengthening your immune system.
The first signs that you lack vitamin D may be related to fatigue and muscle weakness. If you also notice a long-term change in your mood as feeling less optimistic and sad on an everyday basis it may also be a body alert of a vitamin D deficiency. In such cases, doctors can assign vitamin D intake norms up to 5000IU a day!
How to measure your vitamin D levels?
The only way to find out the exact level of vitamin D in your body is to do a blood test. However, you can do it at any clinic. After you get your results, consult with a doctor for the best program for your health.