Vitamin D is also known as “Sunshine” vitamin because it is naturally produced vitamin in humans, when our skin is exposed to sunlight. The sunshine accounts for approximately 90% of your total vitamin D, while 10% of vitamin D we consumes from food. Research says 20 minutes of daily sunshine is enough to meet out body requirements of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is fat soluble vitamin which means you need to eat food to absorb it. Some naturally occurring vitamin D foods are: fish, fish liver oil, egg yolks, dairy products, fortified milk & fortified yogurt, fortified breakfast cereals, mushrooms exposed to sunlight and fortified orange juice.

What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is when our body do not have enough of vitamin D. It is a unique vitamin because our skin actually produced it when exposed to sunshine. Young individuals with fair skin convert sunshine into vitamin D far better than those whose skin is darker and over-age 50.

It is common in the middle East and is more severe in women. Vitamin D effects the pregnant and breast feeding mothers more severely.

Why vitamin D is important?

vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins that human body needs to stay healthy and function properly. It has many important functions for human body that includes:

Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium & phosphorus, hence it plays an important role in formation of healthy bones and teeth. Lack of vitamin D makes the bones soft and weak that results in various disorders including Rickets and bones fracture.

Parathyroid glands in human body maintains the balance of calcium in human body by interacting with kidneys, gut and skeleton. Calcium intake is directly involved with the sufficient vitamin D in human body.

Vitamin D is also necessary for proper immune function & for many other medical conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune disease, dementia and cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin D deficiency:

Low vitamin D condition is arising as common worldwide problem. Several studies and research On Vitamin D have displayed a strong association of it with chronic diseases along with acute diseases.

Causes of Vitamin D deficiency:

Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by medical conditions, such as:

Cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease and celiac diseases. All Of these diseases does not allow intestine to absorb calcium from diet and supplements.

Kidney and Liver diseases also reduces amount of enzyme that converts vitamin D to a form where it is absorbed in human body. Lack of this enzyme leads to deficient level of active vitamin D in human body.

Weight loss surgeries that abridged the size of stomach or small intestine make it difficult to consume adequate levels of calcium, vitamins and other minerals. Hence, patient’s need to take supplements of Vitamin D throughout their lifespan.

Obesity: A body mass greater than 30 index is connected to low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is more obvious in obese people, hence, obese person needs to take Vitamin D supplements to maintain a normal level.

Medications that causes vitamin D deficiency:

Vitamin D level can be lowered by certain medications such:

  • Laxatives
  • Steroids (Prednisone)
  • Cholesterol lowering drugs(colestipol)
  • Phenobarbital and phenytoin
  • Tuberculosis drugs(Rifampin).

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:

Rickets: lack of vitamin D causes Rickets in children that causes faulty growth patterns, weakness of muscle, pain in bones and deformities in joints.

Lack of vitamin D in adults are not obvious. Signs & symptoms in most of individuals are:

  • Fatigue & tiredness
  • Bone pain
  • Muscles weakness & muscles cramps
  • Mood changes like depression
  • Infection & Illnesses more often
  • wounds heal slowly
  • some people have hair loss
  • muscle pain or lower back pain
  • Rickets in children’s
  • Osteoporosis
  • High blood pressure & Insomnia.

The NHS says taking too much amount of vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium buildup in body which can weakens the bones and damage the kidney & heart.

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