Vitamin D is important in helping the body absorb and use calcium from food and supplements. It aids in bone and tooth formation and supports muscle and nerve function, and studies have shown that vitamin D helps to prevent osteoporosis. Nutritionists categorize vitamins by the materials that a vitamin will dissolve in. There are two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K which stored in the fat tissues of the body for a few days to up to six months. If you get too much of a fat-soluble vitamin, it can be stored in your liver and may sometimes cause health problems. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Some people take mega-doses of fat-soluble vitamins, which can lead to toxicity. Eating a normal diet of foods rich in these vitamins won't cause a problem. Remember, you only need small amounts of any vitamin.
How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

The National Institutes of Health recommend that men and women ages 19 to 50 consume a minimum of 5 mcg of vitamin D each day. People ages 51 and over should consume at least 10 mcg of vitamin D daily. The need for vitamin D increases with age because your body ability to convert sunlight to vitamin D decreases. You should always eat foods or supplements rich in vitamin D with foods rich in calcium for better absorption. When you are exposed to the sun rays, your body converts a cholesterol compound in the skin to vitamin D, so aim for three 15-minute sessions of sun exposure a week.


Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin D
Babies 0 to 1 years 3 mcg/day
Children 1 to 3 years 5 mcg/day
Children 4 to 8 years 5 mcg/day
Children 9 to 13 years 5 mcg/day
Teenager boy 13 to 15 5 mcg/day
Teenager girl13 to 15 5 mcg/day
Teenager boy 16 to 19 5 mcg/day
Teenager girl 16 to 19 5 mcg/day
Men 15 mcg/day
Women 10 mcg/day
Pregnant women 10 mcg/day
Nursing mother 10 mcg/day

Vitamin D promotes absorption and use of calcium and phosphate for healthy bones and teeth.
Vitamin D is found in milk (fortified), cheese, whole eggs, liver, tuna, fish-liver oils, salmon, and fortified margarine. The skin can synthesize vitamin D if exposed to enough sunlight on a regular basis.
Food Serving Vitamin D (mcg)
Pink salmon, canned 3 ounces 13.3
Sardines, canned 3 ounces 5.8
Mackerel, canned 3 ounces 5.4
Cow's milk, fortified with vitamin D 8 ounces 2.5
Orange juice, fortified with vitamin D 8 ounces 2.5
Cereal, fortified 1 serving (usually 1 cup) 1.0-1.3
Egg yolk 1 medium 0.6

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