Health Importance of Vitamin D, Roles in body functions, Benefits of Intake, Toxicity, Deficiency, Related Health Issues, Food Source, Recommend Dose and FAQ
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D (also known as calciferol) contains a group of fat-soluble seco-sterols. Two main types of this Vitamin are D2 and D3 (both vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 can be commercially synthesized and found in dietary supplements or fortified foods).
Vitamin D, first identified as a vitamin in the early 20th century, is now recognized as a prohormone. A unique aspect of vitamin D as a nutrient is to synthesize it by the human body through the action of sunlight. People have often ignored the consumption of vitamin D through diet due to the wide availability of these dual sources.
Health Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is called ‘sunshine vitamin’ as it is produced in the skin of organisms when exposed to the sun. Vitamin D is required to maintain the concentration of serum calcium within the normal physiologic range for musculoskeletal health.
The following portions of the article discuss the health importance of Vitamin D intake and other related important things.
Roles of Vitamin D in Your Health
Keeping calcium levels in the body balanced is the main function of vitamin D. Your bones and teeth will remain strong and healthy if the body can absorb calcium well. Therefore, the role of vitamin D in bone structure and health is essential.
Some recent studies have proved that vitamin D has other contributions to our health apart from calcium control. They are as follows-
- Reducing the risk of type 1 diabetes
- Relieve muscle and bone pain
- Reducing the risk of various cancers including- breast, colon, prostate, ovaries, esophagus, and lymphatic systems.
- Lowering blood pressure
- controlled pancreas
- Controls the immune system
- Reduces the risk of heart attack.
Benefits of Vitamin D Intake
- Healthy Bones
Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium control and in maintaining phosphorus levels in the blood. These factors are important for maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin D is required to stimulate and absorb calcium in the intestine and to restore calcium before the kidneys drains it out.
- Healthy Infant
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with high blood pressure in children. A 2018 study found a possible link between low vitamin D levels and stiffness in a child’s arterial wall. Vitamin D can increase the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids. This benefit makes it potentially useful as a helpful treatment for people with anti steroid asthma.
- Healthy Pregnancy
A 2019 survey suggests that pregnant women with vitamin D deficiency may be at a higher risk of developing Preeclampsia and preterm delivery. Doctors also link poor vitamin D conditions to pregnancy diabetes and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women.
- Healthy Bones
As mentioned earlier, vitamin D plays a role in bone structure and strength by helping the body absorb calcium. So it is clear that an adequate dose of this vitamin will keep you away from bone diseases like osteoporosis, back pain, dental problems etc.
- Supports Immune Health
People who do not have enough vitamin D levels may have an increased risk of infection and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Also Read: Immune System of Human Body
- Lower risk of Heart Disease
Low vitamin D levels are associated with heart disease such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke. But it is not clear whether vitamin D deficiency contributes to heart disease or only indicates poor health when you have a chronic condition.
- Depression Relief
Research has shown that vitamin D can play an important role in controlling mood and reducing the chances of you getting depression. According to a study, it was found that those who received vitamin D supplements had improved their symptoms of depression.
- Weight loss
A study has shown that consuming a healthy diet with vitamin D intake helps in losing extra weight.
Health Effects of Vitamin D Toxicity
Vitamin D intoxication is extremely rare. There are no chances of vitamin D intoxication from sun exposure as the skin destroys the excess. The only way a person can get vitamin D toxicity is by taking high doses of vitamin D for a long period of time. Concentration over 150 ng/mL (325 nmoL/L) in the body can lead to its vitamin D toxicity which is associated with hypercalcemia. Some of the symptoms associated with vitamin D toxicity and hypercalcemia include
Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can be as follows:
- Regular illness or infection
- Bone and back pain
- Low mood
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
If vitamin D deficiency persists for a long time, it can lead to such complications:
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Autoimmune problems
- Neurological Disease
- Pregnancy complications
- Some cancers, especially breasts, prostate, and colon.
Also Read: Vital Importance of Vitamin B for Human Body
Foods that are Rich in Vitamin D
Getting enough sunlight is the best way to help the body produce enough vitamin D. Food sources with vitamin D abundance are:
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- Egg yolk
- Beef liver
- Fortified milk
- Fortified cereals and juices etc.
Recommended Doses of Vitamin D
The recommendation is to check the level of the circulating form of vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) at least twice a year. Once in spring – which will reflect lower levels after the winter, and once in autumn – which will reflect higher levels after summer, and accordingly the dose should be adjusted.
The above article discusses the information about vitamin D and its health importance in your body. These data are reliable source based. Approach the doctor for more information and any problems related to vitamin deficiency or toxicity.
Also Read: Vitamin D importance (Assamese)
1) What does Vitamin D do?
A- Vitamin D has many important functions in the body and is essential in maintaining overall health. It helps the brain to function well, contributes to strong bones, and helps fight infections. The body uses vitamin D to control calcium content in blood flow.
2) Is the human body designed to obtain its vitamin D from sunlight?
A- Yes, when the bare skin is exposed to sunlight the body produces vitamin D on its own. Taking vitamin D supplements is another way to get vitamin D. Some foods contain vitamin D, but only foods cannot provide you enough vitamin D.
3) What is ‘Rickets’?
A- Rickets is a disease of children and adolescents that affects growing bones. This leads to soft, weak bones that can lead to deformities and short height. Improper bone calcification affects growing bones. Sometimes in serious situations the respiratory system can also fail.
4) Can a person have too much vitamin D?
A- Yes, it is possible to have too much vitamin D. It is common when people consume too much vitamin D supplements. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity can include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weakness, constipation, and weight loss. Too much vitamin D can increase calcium levels leading to heart beat disturbances and confusion.
5) What complications or risks are associated with vitamin D deficiency?
A- Vitamin D deficiency can lead to various chronic diseases as follows:
- Heart, breast or bowel cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
6) Does Vitamin D help in weight loss?
A- Yes, a study by the University of Milan found that taking vitamin D supplements has led to weight loss in obese and overweight people who had vitamin D deficiency. Researchers believe vitamin D supplements help in weight loss and increase the effects of low calorie diets. The researchers suggest that obese people should be tested for vitamin D deficiency and, if the condition exists, start taking supplements.
7) What are the various factors of vitamin D deficiency?
A- One of the most common reasons for vitamin D deficiency is low exposure to the sunlight. However, other factors may exist. These include-
- Overusing sun block cream
- Being under the age of five
- People with thick skin
- Spending a long time indoors etc.