Salmon oil comes from the fatty tissues of salmon, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and other nutrients, according to dietitian Matthew Kadey, a contributing writer for PTontheNet. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in your adipose, or fat, tissues that surround your organs and beneath your skin. Your body needs it for bone maintenance, immune system support and proper blood calcium levels.
Vitamin D Types
Ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2, is synthesized by fungus, plants and invertebrates, while cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3, is synthesized by all vertebrates. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your body produces vitamin D3, which is then transported to your liver. In the liver, vitamin D is converted to an active form and is released into your bloodstream. Vitamin D in salmon oil is type D3.
Vitamin D performs many vital functions, such as regulating how much calcium and phosphorus are absorbed by your bones, maintaining normal blood calcium level, secreting insulin in your bloodstream and forming antigens and other cells in the immune system. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, vitamin D also prevents various types of cancers -- including prostate, breast and colon -- osteoporosis and rickets. In addition to vitamin D, salmon oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are unsaturated fats that act as anti-inflammatory agents. They increase your high-density lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol away from your arteries and into your liver for storage, according to Kadey.
Sources and Recommended Intake
Besides salmon oil, you can also get vitamin D from dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, and fortified cereals. Some calcium-fortified orange juice also contains vitamin D for vegetarians or people who are lactose intolerant. According to Gordon Wardlaw, a former Ohio State University professor, you should take about 2,000mcg of vitamin D daily.
Too much vitamin D can cause high blood calcium that can cause calcification in your soft tissues, such as in your blood vessels, cartilages in your joints and heart. This is where calcium residue gets deposited in the tissues and hardens. According to Wardlaw, too much vitamin D can also cause kidney stones as your kidneys try to excrete excess calcium in your blood. Since salmon oil is made up of fats, it is high in calories -- about 9 calories per gram. Although it has high antioxidant benefits, you can easily gain fat weight if you consume too much salmon oil.
Rickets is a common disease in children that is caused by vitamin D deficiency. It causes the bones to become weak due to lack of calcium and phosphorus. Since the bones lack the minerals to provide them with support, the limbs become bowed. The spine and rib cage may become deformed due to movement in the entire body and diaphragm. Although the bones in adults do not grow like children and infants, they are always forming and destroying bone cells as part of the cells' life cycle. Vitamin D deficiency can cause osteomalacia, which has symptoms similar to rickets.