What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is produced by the body through diet and in the skin, synthesis possible only under the influence of sunlight. This vitamin determines a harmonious development of the skeleton. For this reason, during winter, when sunlight is less intense, it is recommended to supplement the intake of vitamin D. People who have significant deficiencies of vitamin D have a 60% higher risk of suffering from type II diabetes compared with people who fall within the limits recommended by doctors. Behind the lack of vitamin D factors such as obesity or inactivity, the main causes of type II diabetes, can be found researchers say. Previous studies have shown that vitamin D maintains blood sugar at a normal level and regulates the production of insulin. The main cause of type II diabetes, the most common form of diabetes is an inability to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar.
Optimal dose of vitamin D
The recommended daily amount of vitamin D for adults is 200-400 units (higher in those over 50 years). In children, things are different, and could exceed 1,000 units per day during the cold period of year for kids under the age of two. Vitamin D can be produced by the body when it is exposed to direct sunlight (10 minutes of exposure per day are enough). Most experts recommend about 200 international units (IU) per day for adults aged between 19 and 50. This recommendation also applies to pregnant or nursing women. Those over 50 need 400 IU per day. Parents are advised to feed their babies two cups of milk per day (a cup of milk equals 100 IU of vitamin D).
Vitamin D sources
Vitamin D is synthesized by the body through the effect of sunlight, but it is also found in eggs, salmon, cod and some dairy. The most effective way to obtain vitamin D is through supplements. Studies have shown that during winter, a healthy adult who eats fish once a week, takes a daily multivitamin supplement and drinks milk, has a minimum vitamin D level. It was also discovered that it is a myth that cod oil serves as a source of vitamin D. Given how hard it is to procure this vitamin from food, most doctors recommended supplements. There are of two kinds of supplements, called ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol. Of these, according to experts, the only one who benefits the human organism is the second one.
Benefits of vitamin D for pregnant women
Use of vitamin D by pregnant women without health problems is beneficial. Even in larger quantities than the normal dose, it was found that there are no adverse effects on the pregnant woman or fetus. There are still voices that question the effectiveness of this vitamin in the body during pregnancy. However, the authors of a recent study at the Medical University of South Carolina have shown otherwise. Specialists say that a daily dose of 200 units of vitamin D can only have beneficial effects on mother and fetus. The team led by Dr. Gilbert Forbes monitored 350 women in weeks 12-16 of pregnancy, women which were divided into three groups. One group received 400 units of vitamin D daily, while the second group received 2,000 units of vitamin D each day. The third group of women received a daily dose of 4,000 units of vitamin D. At the end of the study it was found that there were no reported adverse effects from any of three groups.