The body produces vitamin D, sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, in reaction to skin contact with sunlight. It is required for appropriate bone mineralization and development and plays a crucial part in the functioning of organ systems through its impact on calcium levels. It improves the body’s use of calcium from the diet.
Vitamin D deficiency has become increasingly common, impacting a substantial portion of the world’s population. As a result, several academics throughout the world have referred to vitamin D deficiency as an “invisible epidemic.”
What is the significance of Vitamin D?
Enhances Calcium Absorption: It helps in calcium absorption from your diet. Vitamin D, together with calcium, helps in maintaining bone density and bone health. Weak bones can cause osteoporosis, a decrease in bone density that can result in fractures. Healthy bones also protect you from a variety of diseases, including rickets. Rickets is a condition that causes children’s bones to be weak and fragile.
Working with the parathyroid glands: The parathyroid glands work with the kidneys, intestines, and skeleton to regulate the calcium in the blood. When there is enough calcium in the diet and enough active Vitamin D, dietary calcium is absorbed and used effectively throughout the body. If calcium intake is insufficient or vitamin D levels are low, the parathyroid glands will ‘take’ calcium from the skeleton to maintain blood calcium levels normal.
What does Vitamin D deficiency do to our bodies?
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include bone pain and muscular weakness. The symptoms are subtle for many people. Even if no symptoms exist, a lack of vitamin D can be dangerous.
Some of the complications vitamin D deficiency can cause are:
1. Heart disease
2. High blood pressure
4. Multiple sclerosis
5. Cancer such as breast, colon, and prostate
7. Decrease in bone density
8. Immune system disorders
9. Severe asthma
10. Cognitive impairment in old age
11. Neurological diseases
12. Pregnancy complications
13. Higher chances of depression
Who is at more risk?
People with less sun exposure: People who live in northern latitudes or in polluted environments, work night shifts, or are housebound
Older people: With aging, the skin’s capacity of producing vitamin D declines.
Skin color: Skin pigmentation reduces the body’s capacity to absorb UVB (ultraviolet B) photons from the sun. Sunlight absorption is required for the skin to synthesize vitamin D.
Babies: Infants on breastfeeding have limited sources of vitamin D.
Obese people: Excess body fat might impair the body’s capacity to absorb vitamin D from the skin.
People who have had a gastric bypass: This treatment bypasses a section of the upper intestine that absorbs a lot of vitamin D. This bypass may result in a deficiency.
People with kidney problems: As people get older, their kidneys become less capable of converting vitamin D to its active form, increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Sources of Vitamin DSun Exposure
As previously stated, vitamin D3 is produced in the skin by direct sunshine (UVB) exposure and absorbed from meals. Sometimes under the sun can be beneficial. However, knowing that excessive sun exposure can cause skin cancer, food may be a better source.Dietary Sources
There are few foods that are naturally high in vitamin D3. The meat of fatty fish and fish liver oils are the finest sources. Egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver all contain trace quantities. Certain mushrooms contain vitamin D2; moreover, some commercially marketed mushrooms contain increased levels of D2 as a result of being purposely exposed to high levels of UV radiation. Dairy products and cereals are vitamin D enriched.Supplements
Supplements are another way to get vitamin D. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) or D2 (ergocalciferol) is commonly (but not always) present in multivitamin formulations. When purchasing vitamin D pills, you may find two types: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is derived from plants and may be found in fortified meals as well as certain supplements. Vitamin D3 is created naturally in the human body and is also present in animal diets.
Can higher intake of Vitamin D cause toxicity?
The most common cause of vitamin D toxicity is supplementation. The vitamin levels in food are unlikely to reach hazardous levels, and excessive sun exposure does not induce toxicity since excess heat on the skin hinders D3 formation. It is not recommended to consume more than 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day except under the guidance of your doctor.
– Toxic symptoms include:
– Loss of weight
Increased calcium levels in the blood cause hardening of blood vessels and tissues, potentially causing heart and kidney damage.