Vitamin D: What is it and Why is it Important?
by Amy Finn on September 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST

We’ve all heard about Vitamin D. It has been in the news a lot lately. But what is it really? And why do we need it? I know that I didn’t know much about it before I researched it, and what I found was pretty interesting. Many people see Vitamin D only in relation to calcium. While that is an important role that it performs, it has other, important functions.

Vitamin D, along with being vital for the absorption of calcium, plays an important role as an immune system regulator. The other benefits that it has are still being proven, but according to, it is believed that the vitamin is linked to healthy brain function, fighting a common cold, maintaining a healthy body weight, reducing asthma symptoms, protecting the body against low levels of radiation, and those who have adequate vitamin D levels have been shown to have a lower risk of developing cancer.

According to, there are more than one Vitamin D; there are five that have been discovered: D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. While all of them are important, D2 and D3 are the ones that scientists and researchers believe to matter the most to humans.

There are many ways you can get D3 through 15 minutes of sun exposure twice a week on the face, arms, or back without sunscreen; longer exposure degrades the extra vitamins as fast as it’s generated. Many foods come fortified with vitamin D, including orange juice, which is how I usually get my daily dose. You can also find it in salmon, tuna, and mackerel, which are considered the best sources; it’s also present in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Most of these are vitamin D3. You can get D2 by consuming some mushrooms.

This vitamin is an important one, and you should make sure that you are getting enough in your diet. It’s hard to know how much you are getting and if you’re getting the right amount since some doctors have claimed that vitamin D in supplements and fortified foods may not be absorbed by the body as efficiently. Therefore, make sure that you incorporate some salmon and cheese into your diet, as well as some limited sun exposure.

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