Vitamin D (cholocalciferol) is actually considered to be a hormone because of the way it is absorbed and utilized by the body. It is essential for metabolizing calcium and phosphorus and for normal development and maintenance of teeth and bones. It also plays a role in cell activation, muscle function and it enhances immune function. Decreased levels of Vitamin D can contribute to compromised immunity and bone loss, especially in older people. Vitamin D is also important for maintaining our biological rhythms and may be useful for people with psoriasis as well as mood and behavior problems.
Vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin” because our bodies make it in response to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. However, the further north you live, the less UV light is available for Vitamin D production. Since most Americans do not get sufficient Vitamin D from diet alone, it is probably a good idea to take a supplement, especially in fall and winter for people in northern latitudes and for those with dark skin. A general recommendation for adults is a minimum of 1,000 IU per day. The Vitamin D Council recommends at least 5,000 IU per day, but the only way to know what’s right for you personally is to test your blood levels.
- Keep out of the reach of children.