D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. A human body produces vitamin D as a response to sun exposure. A person can also boost their vitamin D intake through certain foods or supplements.
It may also protect against a range of diseases and conditions, such as type 1 diabetes.
Although the body can create vitamin D, a deficiency can occur for many reasons. Geographical location: People who live in northern latitudes or areas of high pollution, work night shifts, or are homebound should aim to consume vitamin D from food sources whenever possible.
Breastfeeding: Infants who exclusively breastfeed need a vitamin D supplement, especially if they have dark skin or have minimal sun exposure. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all breastfed infants receive 400 international units (IU) per day of oral vitamin D. Supplement drops for babies are available online. Dosage People can measure vitamin D intake in micrograms (mcg) or international units (IU).
One microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. 400 IU (10 mcg). 600 IU (15 mcg).
Adults up to 70 years: 600 IU (15 mcg). 600 IU (15 mcg). 800 IU (20 mcg).
Sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5–10 minutes, 2–3 times per week, allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D. However, vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter.
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