Vitamin D insufficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnicities and age groups, have a vitamin D deficiency (VDD). This pandemic of hypovitaminosis D can mainly be attributed to lifestyle and environmental factors that reduce exposure to sunlight, which is required for vitamin D production in the skin. The high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency is a particularly important public health issue because hypovitaminosis D is an independent risk factor for total mortality in the general population. The two main ways to get vitamin D are by exposing skin to sunlight and by taking vitamin D supplements. You cannot get the right amount of vitamin D your body needs from food only.
Emerging research supports the possible role of vitamin D in maintaining the health of bones and teeth. It also supports the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system. It is responsible for regulating the insulin levels and aids in diabetes management. Vitamin D also supports lung functions, cardiovascular health and influences expression of genes involved in cancer development.
Endocrine Society of Clinical Practice (ESCP) suggests that the maintenance tolerable upper limits (UL) of vitamin D, which is not to be exceeded without medical supervision, should be 1000 IU/d for infants up to 6 months, 1500 IU/d for infants from 6 months to 1 year, at least 2500 IU/d for children aged 1–3 years, 3000 IU/d for children aged 4–8 years, and 4000 IU/d for everyone over 8 years. Higher levels of 2000 IU/d for children 0–1 year, 4000 IU/d for children 1–18 years, and 10000 IU/d for children and adults 19 years and older may be needed to correct VDD.
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