What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D (also known as “calciferol”) is a fat-soluble vitamin found naturally in some foods, added to others, and obtainable as a dietary supplement. It is also formed endogenously when ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight hit the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.
Vitamin D endorses intestinal absorption of calcium and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to promote normal bone mineralization and prevent hypocalcemic tetany (involuntary muscle contraction that causes seizures and spasms).
It is also required for bone growth and bone remodelling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts [1-3]. Without enough vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or deformed. Adequacy of it prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Along with calcium, it also helps protect older people from osteoporosis.
What are the Health Benefits of Vitamin D?
The human body produces it in response to sun exposure. A person can also increase their intake through certain foods or supplements.
It is obligatory for numerous reasons, including preserving healthy bones and teeth. It can also protect against several diseases and conditions, as category 1 diabetes.
Vitamin D is basically not a Vitamin, despite its name, but rather a prohormone or a hormonal precursor.
Vitamins are those nutrients that the body cannot synthesize, so a person must eat them with food. However, the body can make vitamin D.
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of it, what happens to the body when people don’t get enough, and how to increase your vitamin D intake.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D has several functions in the body. Help:
- Promote healthy bones and teeth
- Supports a healthy immune system, brain, and nervous system
- Regulate insulin levels and support diabetes control
- Supports lung function and cardiovascular health
- Influence on the expression of genes involved in the development of cancer.
1. Healthy Bones
Vitamin D plays a significant role in regulating calcium and the maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood. These factors play an essential role in maintaining bone strength. People require vitamin D to allow the intestines to stimulate and absorb calcium and restore calcium that the kidneys would otherwise excrete.
A deficiency of vitamin D in children can cause rickets, which leads to severely crooked legs due to unstiffening of the bones. Similarly, in adults, vitamin D deficiency establishes itself as osteomalacia or softening of the bones. Osteomalacia leads to decreased bone density and muscle weakness.
Vitamin D deficiency can also manifest as osteoporosis, for which more than 53 million people in the United States seek treatment or are at increased risk.
2. Reducing the Risk of Getting the Flu
A 2018 review of existing research found that several studies have shown vitamin D protects against the flu virus. However, the authors also reviewed other studies in which it did not affect the risk of influenza and influenza.
Therefore, more research is required to confirm the protective effect against influenza.
3. Healthy Babies
Vitamin D deficiency has been related to high blood pressure in kids. A 2018 study found a likely link between low levels and arterial stiffness in kids. (AAAAI) The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology suggests that data point to a link between low and a bigger risk of allergic sensation.
For example, children who live nearer to the equator have a lower hospitalization rate for allergies. They are also less likely to be allergic to peanuts. The AAAAI also highlights Australian egg consumption research. Eggs are a common initial source of it.
Babies who started eating eggs after 6 months were more probably to develop food allergies than babies who began eating eggs between 4 and 6 months. In addition, it may enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids. This advantage makes it potentially useful as maintenance therapy for people with steroid-resistant asthma.
4. Healthy Pregnancy
A 2019 review shows that pregnant women with its deficiency may be at increased risk of developing preeclampsia and premature birth. Doctors have also linked vitamin D deficiency to gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant
In a 2013 study, investigators linked high levels during pregnancy with an increased risk of food allergies in a baby during the first 2 years of life. For more information on vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements, visit our dedicated centre.
Reasons for Vitamin D Deficiency
Although the body can produce it, its deficiency can occur for many reasons.
1. Skin Type:
For example, darker skin and sunscreen reduces the body’s ability to absorb ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun. Absorption of sunlight is essential for the skin to produce it.
Sunscreen with (SPF) 30 sun protection factors can reduce the body’s ability to synthesize the vitamin by 95% or more. Covering your skin with clothing can also interfere with its production.
3. Geographical Position:
People living in northern latitudes or areas with high levels of pollution, working night shifts, or homebound should try to consume it from dietary sources whenever possible.
Exclusively breastfeeding babies need its supplements, especially if they have dark skin or little sun exposure. Basically, the American Academy of Pediatrics acclaims that all breastfed babies receive 400 international units (IU) per day of oral vitamin D.
Though people can take its supplements, it is greatest to get vitamins or minerals from natural sources whenever possible.
Symptoms of its Deficiency may include:
1.Regular sickness or infection
3. Bone and back pain
4. Low mood
5. Impaired wound healing
6. Hair loss
7. Muscle pain
Complications Due to Vitamin D
If Vitamin D deficiency remains for long periods, it may result in complications such as:
2. Autoimmune problems
3. Neurological diseases
5. Pregnancy complications
6. Certain cancers, particularly prostate, breast, and colon.
Sources of Vitamin D
Getting adequate sunlight is the most pleasing way to help the body harvest a sufficient of it. Plentiful food sources of vitamin D include:
- Egg yolk, Beef Liver, Cheese, Fortified Milk, Mushrooms
- Oily fish such as Mackerel, Salmon, and also Tuna
- Fortified Cereals And Juices
People can measure their consumption in international units (IU) or micrograms (mcg) One microgram is equal to 40 IU.
The recommended regular intake of it is as follows:
Infants 0-12 Months of Age: 400 IU (10 mcg).
Children 1 to 18 years: 600 IU (15 mcg).
Adults under 70 Years of Age: 600 IU (15 mcg).
Adults over 70 Years of Age: 800 IU (20 mcg).
Suggested intake for Pregnant or lactating women: 600 IU (15 mcg).
Basically, reasonable sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times a week allows most people to produce enough vitamin D. However, it breaks down fairly quickly, which means that the supplies can run out, especially in winter.
The upper limit recommended by health professionals for vitamin D is 4000 IU per day for an adult. However, the (NIH) National Institutes of Health states that its toxicity is unlikely with an intake of less than 10,000 IU every day.
Basically, excessive vitamin D intake can lead to extreme calcification of the bones and the strengthening of blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, and heart tissue.
The most common symptoms of overuse of it include headache and nausea. However, too much of it can also cause the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Metallic taste
- Throwing up
Too much vitamin D is usually the result of taking too many supplements. It is best obtained from natural causes.
And, if someone is taking its supplements, they should choose their brand carefully, as the FDA does not control the safety or purity of supplements.
However, it is the general diet and diet that are most important to prevent disease and maintain health. Moreover, it is healthier to eat a diet rich in a variety of nutrients than to focus on a single nutrient as the key to good health.
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