DESPITE ITS NAME, VITAMIN D is a prohormone and not a vitamin. Vitamins are nutrients our bodies cannot create which we must obtain through diet and supplements. Our bodies can synthesize vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin. We need vitamin D to aid the absorption of calcium and phosphorous by the bones and teeth, making bones stronger.
Muscles need vitamin D in order to move, and nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part. The immune system uses vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D also helps regulate insulin levels and aids in diabetes management. It supports lung and cardiovascular health.
Lack of vitamin D affects bones and other parts of the body. Growing children who do not get enough vitamin D may have bones that are too soft and unable to support their weight, a disease called rickets. Adult deficiency can result in soft bones (osteomalacia) and decreased bone mass, leading to fragile bones. Vitamin D deficiency may also contribute to the development of certain cancers, especially breast, prostate and colon cancers. Being deficient may increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis as well as infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and seasonal flu.
Research shows children given 1,200 international units of vitamin D per day in the winter reduce their risk of influenza A infection by more than 40 percent. Several studies show an inverse relationship between blood concentrations of vitamin D and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Infants who received 2,000 international units per day of vitamin D had an 88 percent lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes by age 32.
Pregnant women deficient in vitamin D seem to be at greater risk of developing pre-eclampsia and needing a cesarean section. Inadequate vitamin D in pregnant women is associated with gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis. However, high levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are associated with an increase in food allergy in the child in the first two years of life.
You can obtain vitamin D three ways: through your skin, from your diet and from supplements. Individuals should get 10–15 minutes of exposure to sunshine three to five times a week. Food sources of vitamin D include cheese, butter, margarine, fortified milk, eggs, yogurt, fish, fortified cereals and juices. Cod liver oil and good fatty fishes such as cod, sardines, swordfish, sockeye salmon, mackerel and canned tuna are excellent sources. As it is difficult to get vitamin D from food sources alone, you may take vitamin D supplements in the form of D2 (ergocalciferol) or D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D breaks down quickly; stores of it in the body run low, especially in the winter.
An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of vitamin D, and deficiencies can be found in all ethnic and age groups. Industrial countries have seen a resurgence of rickets, previously largely eradicated through vitamin D fortification. If you live north of the line connecting San Francisco to Philadelphia or Athens to Beijing, odds are you do not get enough vitamin D from sun exposure. African-Americans and those with dark skin, as well as older individuals, tend to have lower levels of vitamin D, as do people who are overweight or obese.
Signs of vitamin D deficiency include depression, frequent illness or infection, fatigue, painful bones and back, muscle pain, hair loss and impaired wound healing. Chronic vitamin D deficiency can result in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The most accurate way to measure the amount of vitamin D in your body is the 25- hydroxy vitamin D blood test. If you have not had the test lately, ask your health care provider to have one drawn. A level of 20 nanograms/ milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates deficiency.
There is a scientific debate about how much vitamin D people need. Those at high risk of deficiency may need more. Check with your health care provider about the amount you need. If you live where there is sun year-round, you may not need supplements as long as you get enough sun. Vitamin D3 supplements of 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 micrograms) should be enough for those who do not have access to the sun. The only way to know if you need a vitamin D supplement is to have your blood levels measured. Vitamin D is essential, and correcting a deficiency is simple, cheap and can have immense health benefits.
Recommended vitamin D dietary intake by age:
Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
1–13 years: 600 IU
14–18 years: 600 IU
19–70 years: 600 IU
71-plus: 800 IU
Pregnant/breast feeding women: 600 IU
The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Imagine yourself lounging in a stone cottage suite with a fireplace and freestanding tub, sipping hot chocolate in a rustic game and reading room with a raftered ceiling, and ice skating and cross-country skiing in the crisp mountain air. Sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t it? Especially when you add in seasonal touches.
Whether it's the people, the craic (fun) or the coasts, travelers always find something to love about the island of Ireland. What fills your heart?
For the first time in Olympic history, when the 2024 Summer Olympics kick off on July 26, 2024, they will not do so in a stadium. Instead of an Olympic venue, the entire city of Paris will become the Olympic stadium, hosting the games among monuments, on bridges and on the grounds of some of the world’s most historic sites. The Opening Ceremony will take place on the River Seine, where athletes will drift along on a flotilla of boats as spectators wave them on from the quays and bridges throughout the city.
Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus launched a major reconstruction and redesign project in January 2023. Its completion date is set for 2025 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the star-studded hotel debut, which took place June 10, 1955, after only 21 months of construction. Happily, the hotel will retain its urban resort ambiance, complete with its lush sprawling gardens and iconic pool.
Reconnecting the World: GBTA Convention 2023 Spotlights the Vital Role of Business Travel and In-Person Connection
In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention remains an indispensable platform for business travel industry professionals seeking to make the most of the power of face-to-face connections. Taking place August 13–15 in Dallas, the 2023 GBTA Convention provides the unique opportunity for professionals and companies to join visionaries, thought leaders and industry experts for meaningful networking, cutting-edge insights and inspiring innovation.
The Singapore EDITION officially marks the brand’s entrance in Southeast Asia and Singapore, bringing the luxury of EDITION to the region. Featuring 204 guestrooms, The Singapore EDITION sits at the west end of Orchard Road, welcoming guests to its lobby adorned with floor-to-ceiling windows and a light-filled conservatory at the far wall, complete with a biophilic green way.
Earlier this week, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines reached an agreement to combine, thus expanding services and benefits for customers. In a $1.9 billion deal, Alaska Airlines officially acquired Hawaiian Airlines. First, the deal must go through several federal regulations to approve the merger, a task in itself following the recent break up of a regional partnership between JetBlue and American Airlines.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
Ideally positioned in Chicago’s enticing River North district within a beautifully restored 1920’s Art Deco structure, Freehand Chicago is surrounded by shops, museums, galleries and restaurants. The holiday season is the perfect time to visit — snowy cityscapes and glittering lights set the scene for shopping along the Magnificent Mile and State Street. Leisure time offers the opportunity to bask in the brisk winter air while ice skating in Millennium Park at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. Complimentary ice-skating lessons are offered each weekend and on some winter season public holidays.