Our bodies are like machines - our parts are in constant motion, lifting our legs as we walk around the neighborhood surrounding our home, taking food and turning it into energy, and expelling waste. Like a machine needs oil, our bodies need certain substances known as vitamins and minerals to continue functioning properly. Most of these vitamins and minerals come from the food we eat, but some vitamins are different. Take, for instance, vitamin D. We'll tell you all about it here.

While other essential vitamins, such as vitamin C or calcium, come from the food we eat, there are very few natural food that contain any vitamin D. So where do we get it? Would you believe your body is making it as you walk around outside? As you stand at the window? While lying on the beach? Have you guessed where it comes from yet? If you said sunlight, you're right! Our body synthesizes vitamin D when ultraviolet rays strike our skin. The vitamin D is then refined by our liver and kidneys into usable form. Page sponsorship provided by: Builders Choice.

As you might expect, this can cause problems for people who don't go outside very often or who have reduced liver and kidney function. If you spend all day inside or if you live in the polar latitudes during the winter months, you're likely not getting enough sunlight to product the amount of vitamin D your body needs. For these people, there are vitamin supplements. They can come either separately or as part of a multivitamin pill. Different ages require different amounts, starting at 10 mcg for babies and going up to 20mcg for seniors.

So what happens if you're not getting enough vitamin D? Vitamin D is responsible for helping the stomach absorb calcium, for helping to grow and remodel bones, for modulating cell growth, keeping neurons and muscles working right, and helping the immune system to run off the bugs you pick up. If you're not getting the required intake, these processes start to go awry and cause symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency include bones becoming weaker and more brittle, which leads to osteoporosis, an increased risk of contracting cancer, and an inability for the body to remodel bones, which can lead to stunted growth in young people. Therefore, everyone from infants to seniors need to make sure their getting enough. However, too much vitamin D can cause weight loss and heart arrhythmia's, so think of it as a balance rather than a gorge fest.

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