A Complete Guide On Vitamin D Deficiency
In addition to macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), a healthy body also needs micronutrients for proper functioning. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. One of the main important Vitamins required by the body is Vitamin D.
What Is Vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is a lack of recommended amount of this vitamin in the body to facilitate body performs tasks associated with it. A body having not enough amount of Vitamin D in it is called Vitamin D deficient. This is produced in the body by the skin.
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What Is The Role Of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D has important roles to play in order to keep the body healthy and fit. Unlike other Vitamins, Vitamin D acts as a hormone, and every cell has a receptor for it. It is associated with some main function such as
Keeping Bones Strong
The body needs Vitamin D to use calcium and phosphorous to build bones. A deficiency of Vitamin D leads to weaker bones. A number of diseases and bone disorders are associated with a lack of vitamin D.
In underdeveloped countries; most children suffer from Rickets, a disease that causes bones to become weak and soft. In adults, the soft-bones condition is termed osteomalacia.
Vitamin D is essentially important to absorb Calcium. Vitamin D is as important for keeping and building bones as Calcium. Bones will better absorb calcium in the presence of Vitamin D, and its deficiency makes bones unable to absorb calcium. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, a condition of decreased bone density, thus leading to more chance of getting a bone fracture.
Working With Parathyroid Gland
Parathyroid glands play an important role in managing and maintaining levels of calcium in the blood by communicating with the skeleton, kidneys, and gut. A calcium and Vitamin D-rich diet is helpful for the absorption of calcium by bones.
However, with vitamin D deficiency, the body will not be able to absorb enough calcium. In this condition, parathyroid glands have to lend calcium from bones to manage adequate levels.
Role Of Diet In Getting Vitamin D
The first and foremost source of getting essential nutrients, including is dietary sources. Vegetarian and lactose intolerant people are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency as they are not getting enough of it from the diet. Some good sources of Vitamin D include seafood (cod liver oil, salmon & tuna), dairy products (yogurt, cheese & milk), beef, liver, egg, and cereals.
Supplements are also available to cover its deficiency, especially if you are not getting it from food. Bad habits of eating and drinking can also lead to vitamin D deficiency. A study estimates that quite a number of alcoholics in the US also show vitamin D deficiency.
It is because drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can lead to Vitamin D deficiency which causes myopathy, a disease associated with muscular weakness, and dissolve. Not just civilians, a large number of militants also suffer alcohol-related issues, especially in the adjustment process to civilian life. Recognizing this issue, a number of rehab for veterans is working to help them cope with issues.
Role Of Sunlight In Getting Vitamin D
After dietary sources, sunlight is another natural source to get Vitamin D into the body. It is made in the skin when the skin is exposed to UV-B (ultraviolet B) radiation coming out from the sun. About 15-20 min exposure to sunlight in a week is required to get enough Vitamin D. The amount produced depends on the number of factors
Where You Live
Areas near the equator are the ones that get most of the sunlight and UV-B. Ultraviolet-B is responsible for making Vitamin D. There are some areas where there is not enough sunlight; for instance, Cleveland, Ohio, does not get enough sunlight for about six months a year.
The Time Of Day
The time of the day is also an important factor. The time when sunlight is at its peak is the best time, and more amount of Vitamin D will be produced by the skin. Time in between 10 am to 3 pm is when you can see best of sunlight. Also, there are some other factors, such as cloud cover and pollution, which affect the amount of sunlight available to the skin.
Amount Of Melanin
Melanin is a pigment that gives skin darker tome. More melanin in the skin causes it to appear darker in tone. The tan or darker skin makes less Vitamin D. The people living in equatorial regions, who are more exposed to sunlight, have a darker tone and people living in colder areas appear to have lighter skin tone. It helps to adjust skin produce vitamin D according to sun exposure.
Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Deficiency in Vitamin D can have serious health hazards as a sufficient amount of vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and muscles. There are a number of symptoms that can help in the identification of Vitamin D deficiency. These signs and symptoms include
Bone pain, joints pain
Weaken muscles leading to muscle aches and muscle cramps
Mood changes & Depression
When To See A Doctor
Doctors usually do not recommend checking with levels of Vitamin D in the body. However, there are certain circumstances in which doctors would test levels of Vitamin D in the body. A person having a long history of body ache and a person having more bone fractures without physical trauma could signal the doctor of possible vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D has a vital role in the body. Furthermore, its deficiencies could lead to serious health consequences. In order to maintain a sufficient amount of Vitamin D, a healthy diet and exposure to sunlight are important.