Did you know how important the sunshine vitamin is for your child? Read more to find out!

When it comes to vitamins, Vitamin B and Vitamin C take the focus because of their more obvious and demonstrable effects on the body. These vitamins are water soluble vitamins, which means that they dissolve in water and turn into a form that is usable for the human body.

However, Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins which are just as vital for the human body in terms of the many small tasks they do. These vitamins are dissolved in a different type of fat in the body so that they can be converted into usable nutrients. Let’s find out more about Vitamin D or the sunshine vitamin.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a vitamin that the body produces when it comes in contact with sunlight. That’s the reason why this vitamin is often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. The ultraviolet B rays from the sun come in contact with our skin and the skin produces Vitamin D for our bodies to use. However, this Vitamin D production depends on a few factors:

- What time of the day it is? (the composition of sunlight changes throughout the day)

- Where in the world you live? (the amount of sunlight and the quality of sunlight depends on the person’s geographical location)

- What is your skin colour? (people living in naturally hot conditions have darker skin so that it doesn’t absorb UV rays. However, this can also hamper absorption of the beneficial UV-B rays)

This vitamin can get produced in a large quantity if you expose a larger part of your skin. Exposing your skin to the sun a little before noon can help it produce more Vitamin D. Fair skinned people can produce Vitamin D faster since their bodies can absorb sunlight faster. However, people staying near the equator get good quality sunlight and can produce Vitamin D easily by exposing their body to the sunlight for short periods of time.

What does Vitamin D do in the body?

Vitamin D has a very important role to play in your child’s growth. Here’s what it does:

It facilitates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus:

Vitamin D aids the body in calcium absorption. It also helps to restore the balance of calcium in the body. Phosphorus, a mineral essential in bone formation, cell restoration and energy production, is also absorbed by the body in the presence of Vitamin D.

It helps in normal development of bones and teeth:

By aiding in absorption of calcium and phosphorus, Vitamin D works to give bones their strength. It also helps teeth grow normally.

It helps to normalize the immune system

Vitamin D improves the body’s immune responses. It also helps in the repair of cells that have been damaged.

It can help fight certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis and influenza, and decrease your chances of heart disease.

It helps stabilize hormones and enzymes and helps maintain spotless skin.

Increased research is showing multiple benefits for Vitamin D beyond the traditional role as a calcium absorber. As research establishes a stronger link between the auto-immune system and Vitamin D, it only highlights the necessity of this vital nutrient in our body.

What are the food sources of Vitamin D?

Despite getting good sunlight in most parts of the country, Indians are increasingly turning out to be deficient in Vitamin D. One way to solve this deficiency is to take Vitamin D3 supplements that directly get absorbed into essential fatty acids. The other alternative is to increase consumption of foods that are rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin D.

While it is important to get an adequate amount of Vitamin D, it is also necessary to eat foods that have essential fat in them. These essential fats convert the Vitamin D into Vitamin D3, which can then be used by the body.

Sources of Essential Fatty Acids and Vitamin D:

- Local varieties of fish that are slightly fatty

- Ghee

- Groundnut, sunflower, mustard oil

- Coconut in any form

- Cheese

- Mushrooms

- Eggs

- Milk and other dairy products

- Soy products

By consuming essential fatty acids and exposing our bodies to sunlight, we can ensure that we get adequate amounts of Vitamin D3. So, make sure your children enjoy enough time outdoors to soak in the sun. This will allow their bodies to create enough Vitamin D for their needs and ensure they have a healthy life.