Vitamin D or the “sunshine vitamin” is derived mainly from sunlight. The main role of vitamin D in the body is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, and is critical to the formation of strong bone tissue. Symptoms (though often subtle) of a vitamin D deficiency may include bone pain and muscle weakness.
Low blood levels of vitamin D have also been associated with the following:
- Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment in older adults
- Severe asthma in children
Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.
Fortified milk, cereal and certain types of fish can provide limited amounts of vitamin D in the diet, but the main source is sunlight. For that reason, many people with indoor jobs, living in northern climates, or with concerns about the sun’s harmful effects on skin may have a vitamin D deficiency.