Vitamin D
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Vitamin D, a Fat Soluble Vitamin, has a critical role in the body’s use of calcium and phosphorous, increasing the amount of calcium absorbed from the small intestine and helping form and maintain bones. Vitamin D is especially important for children who need adequate amounts to strong bones and healthy teeth.

Adequate amounts of Vitamin D in humans varies by age and condition. Anderson & Young’s article contains a chart if you wish to discover how much Vitamin D you require. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in growing children include rickets (long, soft bowed legs) and flattening of the back of the skull. Vitamin D deficiency in adults is called osteomalacia, which results in muscular weakness and weak bones. These conditions are rare in the United States.

 The upper intake level for vitamin D is set at 50 mcg for people 1 year of age and older. High doses of vitamin D supplements coupled with large amounts of fortified foods may cause accumulations in the liver and produce signs of poisoning. Signs of vitamin D toxicity include excess calcium in the blood, slowed mental and physical growth, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Infants and children should not consume high quantities Vitamin D regularly. Children exposed to the sun for 5 to 10 minutes daily will produce enough vitamin D. However, if children don’t have skin exposure to the sun, then vitamin D deficiency may occur. Rather than give children a supplement, add fortified foods to their diet, such as vitamin D fortified milk and other dairy products.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension and infectiouse disease.

Smart Kitchen’s information on Vitamin D was drawn from Fat Soluble Vitamins  by J. Anderson and L. Young of  Colorado State (their original article “Fat Soluble Vitamins” can be found on the Colorado State College web site).


The primary food sources of vitamin D are Milk and other dairy products fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D is also found in Oily Fish (e.g., herring, salmon and sardines) as well as in cod liver oil. Non-Oily Fish only have about 2% healthy fat to begin with.  In addition to the vitamin D provided by food, we obtain vitamin D through our skin which can manufacture Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.