Vitamin D is a nutrient that works in partnership with several other vitamins and minerals to keep the body health and strong. However, it should be noted that of the essential vitamins, Vitamin D is among the most difficult to obtain the daily requirement through naturally occurring sources.

Most of those concerned with making sure that they consume enough Vitamin D rely upon Vitamin D fortified foods and dietary supplements to achieve sufficient daily intake.

Especially important in bone heath and strength, Vitamin D helps to ensure calcium absorption. It can increase calcium absorption by 30% to 80%. Rickets and other diseases that cause the bones to be weak, misshapen or brittle are a great risk for those who consistently do not meet the daily intake requirements of Vitamin D.

Recent scientific research has found that Vitamin D, in addition to being beneficial to the immune system, plays a significant role in cell growth and differentiation, meaning the cells take on the specialized characteristics necessary to perform tasks in specific parts of the body.

In order to have a sufficient intake of Vitamin D, adults older than 70 should have 600 International Units, or IU, per day and those from 51 years of age to 70 should have 400 IU each day. People from 14 years of age through to 50 years should have 200 IU daily, and children should also have a daily Vitamin D intake of 200 IU.

Sunlight plays a role in making Vitamin D useful for the body, and is one the more important natural ways of helping to obtain the daily intake requirement of this important nutrient. As lifestyles have changed through the years, people are not getting the same degree of sun exposure today as they have in the past. In addition, in certain geographic regions, sun exposure is reduced for a good part of the year due to winter weather conditions.

That means that there is a significant portion of the population that is at risk of failing to meet the daily requirement levels of Vitamin D.

For example, those who live in the northeast, those who work inside, and those who may be older and have health problems that keep them inside more than they were when more active may suffer deficiencies. People who have a high melanin level, those with darker skin tones, may also not be getting enough Vitamin D, for the melanin that offers certain protections also interferes with Vitamin D production.

For these groups especially, Vitamin D supplements should be seriously considered. Simple and safe, it is a good option. Breastfed babies also may suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. However, with the nearly immeasurable benefits of breastfeeding, a simple oral supplement prescribed by a health care professional is the very best option.

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is essential to bone strength and health. Changing lifestyles and geographic location, in addition to other natural factors, can make it difficult to obtain the most effective daily intake requirements for many people.

Using a safe and simple dietary supplement containing Vitamin D can be an important part of maintaining your health.

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