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15 Foods That Are Rich in Vitamin D

Vitamin D was first discovered in the 1920s. However, there’s something about it that most people don’t know. Ready for it? Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin. It is a pro-hormone. Its function in your body is to amplify the effects of the hormones that already are there.

Vitamin D, the hormone, is usually in an inactive state. However, the tissues and cells in our body are equipped with mechanisms that enable them to convert it into its active form. Our DNA contains 2,800 vitamin D binding sites.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a vitamin that’s fat-soluble, unlike some others, and plays a key role in lots of health components. The main difference from other vitamins is that your body can synthesize a lot of it by simply exposing yourself to sunlight. This is why it’s also called the “sunshine vitamin.” Another interesting fact about it is that instead of just playing the role of a vitamin, it’s also a steroid hormone which is involved in bone health and weight management.

The conversion of vitamin D to its active form usually takes a two-step process, once you consume it. In the liver, it’s first converted into 25(OH)D or Calcidiol. This is the storage form. From there, it’s converted into 1,25(OH)2D, its active form, in the kidneys. Its work starts after this conversion. It involves communication with the cells in order for them both to control numerous functions in your body. These include boosting the immune health and altering the absorption of calcium.

The sun produces ultraviolet B (UVB) rays which provide energy that’s necessary for the production of vitamin D from the cholesterol in your body. Experts usually recommend that you expose yourself to sunlight twice per week, for periods of between 5 to 30 minutes. This will help you meet your body’s vitamin D needs. This period of exposure will vary according to age, body weight, and skin color.

Lack of vitamin D may lead to serious consequences. Sadly, there are millions all over the world who are deficient in this crucial vitamin. As a matter of fact, the US population is highly affected at 42 percent, according to a study released by Nutrition Research. Food sources may not be adequate since they are very few, and this complicates things even more.

If you live in a location where your exposure to the sun is limited or maybe your time limits you from stepping out to enjoy the sun, there are many ways through which you can still manage to meet your needs. Make sure to include foods rich in vitamin D into your daily diet. This way you will get what you need. You won’t even have to step outside.

Positive Health Wellness, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, July 23, 2018

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