Vitamin-D or the “sunshine vitamin” is a fat-soluble vitamin produced in our body primarily in response to the sunlight. The eminent benefactions of vitamin-D are,
- Strengthens Immune functions
- Fortifies bones and teeth
- Wards off anxiety and depression, regulating the mood of the individual
- It aids weight loss, reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases
- It assures the absorption of dietary calcium by the bones
- It is also associated with fighting back the common infections like flu
Deficiency of vitamin-D is reported to promote diseases like Osteomalacia, Osteoporosis, and Multiple Sclerosis etc.
A recent study has reported a diet rich in vitamin-D and calcium to be a potential source of lowering the risk of early menopause. The respective study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It also states that such a nutritious diet delays the aging of ovaries and prevents a premature end of the fertile period of a woman’s life.
Early menopause not only affects the physical but also the mental health of a woman. It is also found to influence her emotions and sentiments. Delaying the menopause has been a frequent topic of scientific studies, many of which have related it to a healthy diet.
The experimental study, under discussion, continued for about 20 years. It involved 100,000 female health workers. Researchers evaluated and recorded the patient’s dietary intake of vitamin-D and calcium. The data was collected at regular intervals of four years. During the study, almost 2000 participants reached menopause naturally. Including the factors like age and smoking, the researchers revealed that the participants with the highest intake of vitamin-D showed a 17% lower risk of early menopause. On contrary, the women with a low vitamin-D and calcium intake exhibited a comparatively higher risk of early menopause.
Alexandra Purdue-Smith, the study’s lead author, quoted that vitamin-D evidently enhances the production of hormones which prevent ovarian aging and slow down the rate at which a woman loses her eggs. This is significant because a woman is set to menopause when she is left with no eggs. Calcium, too, was attributed to influence the aging of ovaries. Calcium is also present in cow’s milk along with reproductive hormones like progesterone. Thus, calcium is also considered potential against early menopause.
The researchers recommend a diet rich in vitamin-D and calcium to women, especially if she wants to stay fertile for as long as she can.
Following are some food items with suitable amounts ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin-D,
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel present a potent source of vitamin-D. A three-oz salmon fillet is reported to provide 450 of the 600 IUs of our daily vitamin D. They are also a rich source of omega fatty acids that are good for the health of our heart. Canned tuna could serve as a good alternative, in case fresh fish isn’t available. Egg yolks are an easily accessible and a highly recommended source of vitamin D. Only a single yolk can provide 40 IUs of the vitamin. A 3.5-oz serving of beef liver contains 50 IUs of the required vitamin. Some drinks fortified with vitamin D like cow’s milk and orange juices can also serve the purpose. Cod liver oil is reported to provide about the two times of the daily recommended intake of vitamin-D.
Direct sunlight serves as the greatest source of vitamin-D. If you have a fair skin, then a 20-25 minutes exposure to sunlight would be enough for a satisfactory intake of vitamin-D. However, in the case of the darker skinned people, the skin cells produce a higher amount of pigments. Thus, they require a bit more time, as the pigments in their skin can block the sunlight.