Home About AllHealth Website Sitemap Contact Us
All Health 
You are here: Home > Old Medical Ref > Old Nutrition Finder > vitamin D


vitamin D

Alternative Names
cholecalciferol, ergocalciferol

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is able to be dissolved in fat. Vitamin D is carried throughout the body by fat. The body can store fat-soluble vitamins. Getting too much can be harmful. Vitamin D can be produced in the body, as well as, obtained from the diet.

What food source is the nutrient found in?
Vitamin D is present in:
  • cheese
  • butter
  • margarine
  • some soy milks are fortified
  • egg yolks
  • liver
  • fish (sardines and salmon), especially oily fish
  • cod liver oil
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin. This is because the body can make vitamin D after sunlight, or ultraviolet light, hits the skin. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure 3 times a week is all the body needs. Older people are less efficient with this conversion.

How does the nutrient affect the body?
Vitamin D helps build strong and healthy bones and teeth. It does this by increasing the body's ability to absorb two minerals: calcium and phosphorous. Vitamin D helps deposit these minerals in bones and teeth.

If the body does not get enough vitamin D and calcium, the person is at higher risk for bone mass loss known as osteoporosis. Low levels of vitamin D also increases the risk of bone softening, known as osteomalacia, in older adults. Children with a significant vitamin D deficiency may develop rickets, or defective bone growth.

Vitamin D is measured as micrograms (mcg) of cholecalciferol (koh-li-kal-sif-ah-rall). The vitamin D status of Australians is determined by exposure to UV light from the sun, so no RDI is available.

Another common measurement for vitamin D is International Units (IU).

Housebound people could benefit from an oral intake of 10 mcg (micrograms) of vitamin D per day if they are not exposed for 1-2 hours per week to direct sunlight in summer.

Vitamin D is the most likely of all vitamins to cause toxicity.

Because vitamin D dissolves in fat, it can be stored in the fatty tissues of the body. This can pose a problem for people taking high doses of vitamin D. While it is almost impossible to get too much vitamin D from foods or sunlight, it is easy to get too much from supplements. Excess vitamin D can be toxic at low levels. It can cause a dangerous build up of Calcium in the blood which leads to a loss of appetite, fatigue, headache, weakness, bone pain, kidney damage, high blood pressure and other serious problems.

Author: Clare Armstrong, MS, RD
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


Back Email a Friend View Printable Version Bookmark This Page


eknowhow | The World's Best Websites
    Privacy Policy and Disclaimer