A Guide to Vitamin D – Its Sources, Health Benefits & RDA

Navdeep Kaur
A psychologist by profession, she loves to venture into self-exploration, holistic healing, and spirituality. Other than being mesmerised by superheroes and metaphysics, contemplating on life and its depth is what keeps her in high spirits.

Vitamins and minerals are a dire requirement of our body – so much so that deficiency of a single one can render us feeling sick in many ways. Now whether you take these through health supplements or natural foods, the need to include them in our diet has increased even more because of our lifestyle choices. Every vitamin works differently to fulfill our body requirements, out of which the most neglected one is Vitamin D. To know more about it, we will discuss health benefits, the foods that are rich in Vitamin D and the RDA intake for our body.

Forms and sources

Now, most people think it as a vitamin, which in fact it is; but it functions more like a hormone or rather steroid hormone in our body. Vitamins cannot be created by the human body as they are nutrients and thus depends on outside sources.


Thus, Vitamin D is accessible to us through three primary sources – diet, sun, and supplements. The two consumable forms of vitamin D in a diet are:

Vitamin D2

  • Scientifically known as ergocalciferol
  • Obtained from plant food like
  • Mushrooms
  • Dairy-free milk like soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk
  • Orange juice
  • Cereals and oatmeal

Vitamin D3

  • Scientifically known as cholecalciferol
  • Obtained from cholesterol in our skin & animal food like
  • Fatty fish like salmon, herring, trout, sardines, cod liver
  • Pork
  • Egg yolk
  • Cow’s milk

Other than its availability in food form, we can harness it directly from the sunshine, which is why it is popular as ‘sunshine vitamin’.

Now, people mistake Vitamin D to be present in the sunshine, but the fact is it is only accessible because sunlight is functional in initiating a reaction in our skin, converting the cholesterol in our skin to vitamin D. When that happens, then its synthesis:

  • First takes place in the liver in the ‘storage form’ of calcidiol
  • Then in kidneys in its ‘active form’ calcitriol

Vitamin D lastly is most available through health supplements like cholecalciferol D3 soft gel capsules or other multivitamin supplements. Since vegan people cannot fulfill their requirement through animal food, they benefit more from these Vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D Health benefits

Bone strength

Calcium and phosphorus are widely responsible for the strengthening of bones. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of these two nutrients thus contributing to your bone strength. Therefore, this lowers your chance of even developing osteoporosis in older age or rickets in children.

Prevents cancer

Vitamin D can help our immune system work well, initiating communication within cells thus provoking cancer cells to commit suicide faster. Therefore, this vitamin is hugely responsible for all the cell repair work and even prevention from reaching any cancerous growths.


You can ward off your depression by boosting your vitamin D levels. Experts link symptoms of depression or even anxiety with low levels of vitamin D in an individual, which is why they recommend vitamin D levels test.


Research experts have suggested that vitamin D stable levels directly correspond to lowering risk of type II Diabetes by contributing towards the better maintenance of insulin secretion and blood sugar while also raising good cholesterol (HDL).

Aids weight loss

Obesity can sometimes be a consequence of vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, if you are thinking about weight loss and have any plans so far, supplementation can aid your weight loss process.

vitamin d infographic


Stabilized levels of vitamin D have known to work on lowering fibromyalgia symptoms. This troublesome disease sometimes has its root in vitamin D deficiency.

Which is better? – Vitamin D2 or D3

The difference between these two lies in their chemical structure whereas the functions they serve are almost similar. However, Vitamin D3 is a preferable form of Vitamin since Vitamin D2 is less absorbable by our body as compared to vitamin D3.

Moreover, the ability of vitamin D3 to fill up the quota of vitamin levels in our body is twice faster than vitamin D2.

RDA for vitamin D

It is important to take vitamin D as per Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) to prevent deficiency and then further effects on health. The prescribed RDA value of vitamin D currently for adults (up to age 70) and children is 600 IU (International Units).

However, most people are running low on the radar of vitamin D, which is why they should first get their levels tested to take the appropriate amount of vitamin D intake.

Their doctors will recommend them Vitamin D supplements to be considered for a few months to cover up the deficient levels if any.

The relationship between Vitamin A and D

It is important to note that vitamin D works in combination with other vitamins like Vitamin A and K. For example, health experts suggest that you should not take higher doses of vitamin A as it is likely to affect your health if you are already deficient in vitamin D.

For an optimum working condition of your body, levels of both vitamins should be sufficient.



It is always better to stay informed for there is a reason why the saying goes “Prevention is better than cure.” Vitamin D does not only prevent health condition to deteriorate but also boosts your day-to-day functioning and performance.

And if you are not able to bathe enough in that eternal sunshine, then you can always include it in your diet regime in the form of supplements.


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