What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a pro -hormone. It implies that vitamin D becomes a hormone in our body. It is a fat-soluble vitamin as well. Furthermore, It means that for adequate vitamin D absorption, our bodies need lipids. In order to maintain healthy amounts of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies, vitamin D is necessary for strong bones, muscles, and teeth. Vitamin D has very important health benefits and its deficiency leads to various unfavourable conditions.
Vitamin D are the combination of five substances, out of which two are essential for us and these are:
Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)
Naturally occurring vitamin D2 is found in mushrooms that get enough sunlight. As a result, it is among the greatest vegetarian sources of vitamin D2.
Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
When the cholesterol in our skin is exposed to sunlight, our bodies produce vitamin D3. Additionally, some animal food products contain vitamin D3.
Sources of Vitamin D
The majority of vitamin D that people consume can frequently be obtained via exposure to sunlight. However, many other people, including those who are at risk of developing vitamin D insufficiency, cannot exclusively rely on exposure to sunlight for the creation of vitamin D. Everyone can benefit from vitamin D supplements throughout the winter, when the sun is less intense.
The following are the source of vitamin D:
- Vegetables like mushrooms – raw maitake mushrooms, dried shiitake mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, raw white mushrooms
- Fortified foods like breakfast cereals, oatmeal, orange juice, soy milk, almond milk, cow’s milk, nuts
- Animal sources like egg yolk, cod liver oil, salmon, herring, tuna etc.
Health benefits of vitamin D
- Helps Strengthen Bones and Muscles: A study found that vitamin D is crucial for enhancing the health of bones and muscles. It is because vitamin D aids in calcium regulation. Additionally, it keeps the blood’s phosphorus levels stable. These are some essential elements for maintaining healthy bones. Additionally, vitamin D is required by our bodies to activate and absorb calcium in the intestines. In the absence of these processes, calcium is excreted by the kidney.
Rickets in children can be brought on by a vitamin D deficiency. Similar to this, adults with vitamin D deficiency experience Osteomalacia or weakening of the bones.
- Decreasing chance of heart disease: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a higher risk of cardiac conditions such hypertension, heart failure, and stroke. However, it’s uncertain if a vitamin D deficiency causes heart disease or simply indicates ill health when a chronic problem is present.
- Improves oral health: According to a study, vitamin D aids in the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphate, which are essential for developing strong dental enamel. It increases mineral density and deposits calcium in the bones by absorbing, transporting, and carrying it.
Additionally, it aids in restoring the teeth’s enamel layer if it erodes as a result of nutrient insufficiency. The tooth’s dentin, which is located below the enamel and cementum, is repaired. A vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of dental decay in a person.
- Support mental health: Depression is a serious issue. It is connected with our mental health, and it is challenging to detect it. According to a study, vitamin D deficiency can cause depression and mood swings.
Similar to this, having high levels of vitamin D can considerably improve your mental health and happiness. Don’t confine yourself to the walls of your home in order to get enough vitamin D. It is advisable to engage in outdoor exercise in the morning hours for optimal vitamin D absorption.
- Vitamin D boost weight loss: The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified obesity as a 21st-century epidemic. According to studies, having too little vitamin D increases your risk of becoming obese.
That is because it aids in the process of losing weight. It modifies how fat cells are formed and stored. Additionally, it raises testosterone and serotonin levels. However, These hormones can interfere with your attempts to lose weight if they are not produced in the necessary proportions.
What is vitamin C deficiency?
A shortage of vitamin D in the diet, poor absorption, or a need for higher quantities due to a metabolic condition can all lead to vitamin D deficiency. Together, deficiency may occur if a person does not consume enough vitamin D and does not spend enough time in the sun’s UV rays (see the section above). A deficiency is more likely to occur in people who cannot handle or avoid eating dairy products, eggs, and fish, such as individuals who are vegan or have lactose intolerance.
However, a study suggests that pigmentation reduces vitamin D production in the skin. The reason is that melanin in dark skin absorbs ultraviolet radiation and reduces UVR available for vitamin D synthesis. Therefore, sufficient amounts of vitamin D are essential to keep you healthy and strong.
Severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to chronic health problems, such as:
- Heart diseases
- Diabetes: The body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone in responsible of controlling blood sugar levels, is greatly enhanced by vitamin D. In addition to excessive blood pressure and unbalanced cholesterol levels, insulin resistance is a primary cause of type 2 diabetes. Numerous health benefits of vitamin D include maintaining insulin secretion and raising insulin sensitivity.
- Osteomalacia: A disorder that results in adults having weak and brittle bones, but can be treated with supplements. This differs from osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become porous and brittle and is an irreversible condition.
- Rickets: A disorder that results in soft bones and skeletal abnormalities in newborns and children because the bone tissue is unable to solidify.
- Breast feeding: The American Academy of Pediatrics advises giving 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D orally each day to all breastfeeding newborns.
- Weak bones and muscles
- Skin colour: The body’s capacity to absorb ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun is decreased by skin pigmentation. Sunlight absorption is necessary for the skin to synthesize vitamin D.
- Obesity: The body’s capacity to absorb vitamin D from the skin can be hampered by high levels of body fat.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Many people do not even realize they have a vitamin D deficiency until they get a blood test, despite the fact that the symptoms are rather ambiguous. We can determine if you have a vitamin D deficit, though, by paying attention to certain signs. These signs consist of:
- tiredness, aches, and pains
- severe bone or muscle pain or weakness
- stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips
Dosage of Vitamin D
The Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamin D are as follow:
- Infants (0–12 months): 10 mcg (400 IU)
- Children and teens: 15 mcg (600 IU)
- Adults age 18–70: 15 mcg (600 IU)
- Adults over age 70: 20 mcg (800 IU)
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 15 mcg (600 IU)
Toxicity of Vitamin D
The most frequent cause of vitamin D intoxication is taking supplements. Because extra heat on the skin prevents D3 from generating, even high levels of sun exposure do not result in toxicity due to the low amounts of the vitamin present in diet. Therefore, It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking daily vitamin D pills unless they contain less than 4,000 IU.
Symptoms of toxicity
- Decreased appetite
- Muscle weakness