Basic facts about vitamin D

Vitamin D is stored in fat and is thus primarily found in foods of animal origin.
Its major role concerns bone growth and strength. Vitamin D contributes to bone mineralisation by aiding calcium and phosphorus fixation.

Vitamin D-rich foods, per 100 g* Vitamin D content
Cod liver oil 250 µg
Steamed salmon 8,7 µg
Egg yolk 4,04 µg
Cooked mackerel 7,5 µg
Sardines in oil 6,7 µg
Preserved canned tuna, drained 2,34 µg
Cooked calf’s liver 0,3 µg
Emmental cheese 1,8 µg
Pasteurised skimmed milk 0,08 µg
Unsalted butter 1,3 µg

Find out more about vitamin D

Vitamin D is fat-soluble and heat-resistant and is thus not sensitive to cooking.
Vitamin D includes five different substances (vitamins D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5), which are chemically very close to one another and have similar biological actions.
The most extensively used is vitamin D3, also known as Cholecalciferol. It has the specific feature of being produced by the body in the skin under the effect of sunlight from cholesterol.
It is one of the rare vitamins for which dietary intake is secondary compared to endogenous production (by the body itself) in the case of sufficient exposure to the sun, which is rarely the case in winter. During this season, sufficient vitamin D intake from dietary sources is thus necessary. Vitamin D is stored in the liver, skin, kidneys, spleen, muscles and fat tissue.

Roles of vitamin D

Vitamin D is required for normal growth and normal bone development in children and also for maintaining the skeleton in adults.
It supports the absorption and normal utilisation of calcium and phosphorus.
Vitamin D helps maintain the muscle and immune functions.

Requirements in vitamin D

Daily vitamin D requirements vary. They are dependent on age, skin pigmentation and sunlight.
These requirements increase during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, during the growth phase and in subjects with dark or sallow skin as they absorb fewer ultraviolet rays, which are needed by the body to produce vitamin D.

Table of DRIs (Dietary Reference Intakes) for vitamin D:

Age / Status DRI for vitamin D
Infants 20 – 25 µg
Children aged 1 to 3 years 10 µg
Children aged 4 to 12 years 5 µg
Teenagers aged 13 to 19 years 5 µg
Women 5 µg
Men 5 µg
Pregnant women 10 µg
Breastfeeding women 10 µg
Elderly people 10 à 15 µg
Product availability varies from country to country.

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