Vitamin D is a form of fat-soluble secosteroids that improves intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, among other biological impacts. The most important compounds in this group in humans are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Vitamin D is a nutrient that your body requires to build and maintain healthy bones. This is due to the fact that your body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone if vitamin D is existent. Vitamin D is also involved in the regulation of many other cellular functions in your body. In response to sun exposure, the human body produces vitamin D. A person can also increase their vitamin D dosage by eating certain foods or taking supplements.
DO YOU KNOW THAT VITAMIN D CAN DO WONDERS FOR YOUR BODY?
- It promotes bone and tooth health.
- It helps to maintain the health of the immune system, the brain, and the nervous system.
- It regulates insulin levels and helps in the management of diabetes.
- It helps to maintain lung function and cardiovascular health.
- It influences the expression of genes involved in the development of cancer.
Aside from its primary benefits, research has found that vitamin D may also play a role in:
Vitamin D has the potential to fight disease:
- Reduces the chances of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Low vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of MS in population-based studies. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects your central nervous system (CNS). When you have MS, your immune system infects myelin, the protective layer that surrounds nerve fibers. MS causes inflammation as well as momentary lesions. It can also cause long-term lesions caused by scar tissue, making it difficult for your brain to send signals to the rest of your body. There is no cure for MS, but symptoms can be managed.
- Reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, heart failure, and stroke.
- Reduced flu risk. According to a Trusted Source review of existing research published in 2018, some studies found that vitamin D had a protective effect against the influenza virus.
- Reduces the likelihood of developing severe illnesses. Vitamin D may reduce the likelihood of severe flu and COVID-19 infections. According to a recent study, low vitamin D levels contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome.
- Boost your immune system. People with low vitamin D levels may be more susceptible to infections and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Vitamin D may help regulate your mood and relieve depression.
According to research, vitamin D appears to play an important role in mood regulation and lowering the risk of depression. According to one study, those who took vitamin D supplements while experiencing negative emotions saw an improvement in their symptoms. Vitamin D supplementation may benefit people suffering from depression who are also vitamin D deficient. In another study, low vitamin D levels were also found to be a risk factor for more severe fibromyalgia symptoms, anxiety, and depression.
It may help with weight loss.
People with higher body weights are more likely to have low vitamin D levels. People with obesity who received vitamin D supplements in addition to following a weight loss diet plan lost more weight, fat mass, anxiety, and depression in one study.
According to the researchers, the extra calcium and vitamin D seemed to have an appetite-suppressing effect. Although current research does not fully support the idea that vitamin D causes weight loss, there does appear to be a link between vitamin D and weight.
In children, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to high blood pressure. A study conducted a few years ago discovered a possible link between low vitamin D levels and stiffness in the arterial walls of children. Vitamin D is essential for a baby’s healthy growth and development. It helps with the development of strong bones and teeth. Babies are at risk of rickets if their vitamin D levels are low enough, which is a disease that affects the way bones grow and develop.
According to a reliable source, pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D may be at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia and giving birth prematurely. Doctors also link low vitamin D levels in pregnant women to gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis. Prenatal vitamin D supplementation improves maternal vitamin D status and may lower the risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and preterm birth.
A variety of factors can impair your ability to obtain adequate vitamin D. Some of the most common causes of vitamin D deficiency are as follows:
1. Inadequate sunlight exposure.
Because the body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are housebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have a job that prevents you from getting enough vitamin D. As there is less sunlight available during the winter, vitamin D deficiency can be more predominant.
Moreover, breast milk contains only trace amounts of vitamin D. Breastfed infants who do not get enough sunlight are at risk of vitamin D deficiency and rickets.
Some experts advise exposing the arms and legs or the face, arms, and hands to direct sunlight for 5 to 15 minutes at least three times per week.
2. Dark skin.
Melanin, a pigment, reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. According to some studies, older adults with darker skin are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Fat cells extract vitamin D from the blood, altering its release into circulation. People with a body mass index of 30 or higher frequently have low vitamin D levels in their blood.
- Vitamin D cannot be converted to its active form by your kidneys.
The body may be incapable of converting vitamin D into an active form. This conversion is hampered by certain kidney and liver disorders, as well as several rare hereditary disorders, such as hypophosphatemic rickets.
- When you use medications that impair your body’s ability to convert or absorb vitamin D.
Vitamin D cannot be properly absorbed by your digestive tract. Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can affect your intestine’s ability to absorb vitamin D from food.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:
- Fatigue, aches, and pains.
- Severe pain or weakness in the bones or muscles.
- Stress fractures, particularly in the legs, pelvis, and hips.
HOW TO OBTAIN VITAMIN D?
Spend time in the sun.
Since the sun is one of the best sources of this nutrient, vitamin D is most often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin.” A type of cholesterol found in your skin serves as a precursor to vitamin D. When exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun, this compound transforms into vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D from the sun may circulate twice as long as vitamin D from food or supplements.
Eat fatty fish and seafood.
Fatty fish and seafood are among the highest natural sources of vitamin D. The exact vitamin D content of seafood vary depending on the type and species.
According to some research, farmed salmon may contain only 25% of wild-caught salmon. Other types of vitamin D-rich fish and seafood include tuna, oysters, shrimp, sardines, and so on.
Take a supplement.
Taking a vitamin D supplement may be the best way for many people to ensure adequate intake. D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol) are the two main biological forms of vitamin D. D2 are typically derived from plants, while D3 is derived from animals.
Consume more mushrooms.
The only vegetarian source of vitamin D is mushrooms. When exposed to UV light, mushrooms, like humans, can produce their own vitamin D. Humans produce vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), whereas mushrooms produce D2 (ergocalciferol).
Eat egg yolks as part of your diet.
Egg yolks are another good source of vitamin D that you can conveniently incorporate into your diet. Yolks, like many other natural food sources, have varying levels of vitamin D. Free-range and pastured eggs are high in vitamin D, as chickens exposed to sunlight produce more vitamin D in their eggs than those kept indoors.
Consume fortified foods.
While few foods contain high levels of vitamin D naturally, this nutrient is frequently added to staple foods through a process known as fortification. However, keep in mind that the provision of vitamin-D-fortified foods tends to vary by country, and the quantity found in foods may vary depending on brand and type. Cow’s milk, plant-based milk alternatives such as soy, almond, and hemp milk, orange juice, ready-to-eat cereals, certain types of yogurts, and tofu are some of the commonly fortified goods to increase the intake of this nutrient.
Alternatives for vegan supplements
The vast majority of vitamin D supplements are derived from animal sources, making them unsuitable for vegans. There are, however, a few vegan D supplement options. Since vitamin D2 is derived from plants, D2 supplements are usually vegan-friendly and easily available. Vegan D3 is much less common than D2, but it can be produced from lichens. They are most likely to be found in specialty health stores and online. Having your vitamin D levels checked prior to supplementing is the best way to determine the correct dose.
Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient that many people do not get enough of. If you suspect you’re deficient in this nutrient, see a doctor have your levels checked. You can even get online consultation from HealthUno and follow the advice of the online physician. Treatment for vitamin D deficiency entails increasing vitamin D levels through diet and supplementation. Although there is no set amount of vitamin D required for optimal health and it is likely to vary depending on age and health conditions, a concentration of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter is generally regarded as insufficient and necessitates treatment.