What It Does: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and helps deposit these minerals in bones and teeth to make them strong.
What Happens When You Don't Get Enough: Greater risk of osteoporosis and osteomalacia (softening of the bones). Children can develop rickets or defective bone growth.
What Happens When You Get Too Much: Can lead to kidney stones or kidney damage, weak muscles and bones, excessive bleeding, and other problems. Excessive amounts usually come from supplements, not from food or overexposure to sunlight.
Food Sources: Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine" vitamin, because your body can produce it after sunlight or ultraviolet light hits the skin. Food sources include cheese, eggs, some fish (salmon and sardines), fortified milk, breakfast cereals, and margarine.
Recommended Daily Intake in Micrograms:
- Women: non-pregnant, 5 mcg; pregnant, 5 mcg; breastfeeding, 5 mcg; over age 50, 10 mcg; over age 70, 15 mcg
- Men: 5 mcg; over age 50, 10 mcg; over age 70, 15 mcg
- Children: all ages, 5 mcg