Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D Deficiency : Vitamin D, popularly known as “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced endogenously when UV rays from sunlight strikes the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. It is obtained from exposure to sun, food and supplements and must undergo two hydroxylation in our body for activation. First one happens in the liver and converts to 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also called as calcidiol. The second one happens in the kidney and converts to 25-dihydroxyvitamin D, also called as calcitriol.
It is a fat- soluble vitamin, not easily dissolves in water. Our body produces vitamin D naturally when it encounters direct sunlight. We can also get it from certain foods and supplements to ensure sufficient levels of the vitamin in our blood.
Obtaining sufficient vitamin D is essential for normal growth and development of bones, teeth as well as resistance against some diseases. Apart from these the most vital function is the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and increase our immune system. So, it is very much essential to obtain a healthy body and healthy mind.
It exists in some foods naturally such as some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks and some fortified dairy and grain products.
Vitamin D is very much essential to strengthen bones, because it enables the body to use calcium from the diet. Its deficiency associated with rickets disease, in which the bone tissue doesn’t get proper minerals and leading to soft bones and skeletal DE formalities.
Common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:
- Having dark skin.
- Being elderly.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Not eating much fish or dairy.
- Living far from the equator where there is very little sun exposure.
- excessive using of sunscreen lotion when going out.
- Staying indoors.
Individuals who live near the equator get frequent sunlight. That’s why they are less vitamin D deficient. Because their skin produces sufficient vitamin D to satisfy the requirements of the body. But those individuals live far from equator can’t get proper sun light and more prone to vitamin D deficient.
Most of the people can’t recognize that they are deficient, as symptoms are not that much clear. But they put a significant negative effect on your quality of life.
Here we are listing 8 signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency :
Getting Sick frequently
The most important role of vitamin D is to keep your immune system strong enough so that you can fight against viruses and bacteria causing illness. It directs associated with the cells that are responsible for fighting against infection. Frequently suffering from cold, flu are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Some studies have shown a connection between deficiency and respiratory tract infections like cold, flu, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Fatigue and Tiredness
There are many reasons for feeling tired, among them vitamin D deficiency is one of those important factors. Several studies have proved that low levels of blood can also cause fatigue and it would hamper your quality of life.
In one of the cases, a woman who suffered from chronic daytime fatigue and headaches and she had a vitamin D blood level of only 5.9 ng/ml. This is extremely low because blood level under 20 ng/ml is considered deficient.
But when the woman took a supplement, her level increased to 39 ng/ml and her deficient problem resolved.
Bone and Back Pain
As we know, it helps maintain bone health in several ways. Primarily it improves absorption of calcium within the body. So, Bone pain and back pain are the signs of inadequate vitamin D levels in the blood. Some observational studies have shown a link between a deficiency and chronic lower pain.
From one study it is examined the association between levels of vitamin D and back pain in more than 9000 older women. That study found that those with a deficiency were more likely to have back pain, severe back pain that restricts the daily activities. In another study, vitamin D deficient people were nearly twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs or joints compared to those people who had normal blood level.
Have you ever seen an individual always in depress mood? Then he/she must be vitamin D deficient. In some review’s researchers connected its deficiency to depressions, especially in old age people. In one of the analysis, it was observed that there is a relationship between low blood levels and depression. In addition, they also observed that vitamin D rich foods or supplements enhance the mood.
Infected Wound Healing
Gradual healing of infected wounds after any surgery or injury is a sign of the low level of vitamin D. Study from a test-tube suggest that the vitamin expand the compounds production that is essential for forming the new skin as part of the wound healing process.
Another study held on those individuals who had dental surgery and they found that several factors of healing were compromised by vitamin D deficiency. For controlling inflammation and fighting against infection also, it is very much important.
For calcium absorption and bone metabolism, vitamin D plays a crucial role. It’s a misconception that many older people suffered from bone loss, they believe that they need to take more calcium. But they may be deficient in vitamin D as well. Low bone density means it is an indication that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals.
In an observational study in more than 1100 middle-aged women in menopause or post-menopause, it is found that there is a strong connection between low vitamin D and low bone density. However, a study demonstrated that women who were suffered from its deficiency experienced no improvement in bone density when they prefer to take high dose supplements, even if their level of blood gets improved.
Sufficient vitamin D intake and maintaining blood levels within the range is a better technique for protecting bone mass and decreasing fracture risk.
Like depression, vitamin D deficiency leads to stress also. And hair loss is often attributed to stress. When hair loss problem is going to severe, it is the result of a disease or nutrient deficiency.
There is a disease called Alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss in the whole body. It is associated with rickets, which is caused by vitamin D deficiency and causes soft bones in children.
One study regarding alopecia areata showed that lower vitamin D blood levels tended to more severe hair loss. The individuals having alopecia areata can apply topically a synthetic form of the vitamin.
A large number of people suffered from muscle pain. There is some proves that vitamin D deficiency can be a primary cause for muscle pain in children and adults. In one study, it was shown that 71% of people with chronic pain were found to be deficient.
The vitamin D receptor, which is present in nerve cells known as nociceptors and it can sense pain. Intake of high dose or supplements can lessen numerous types of pain in individuals who are deficient.
Here are some surprising benefits of vitamin D.
Vitamin D fights diseases
With all these benefits, vitamin D also plays a vital role in:
- According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006, it reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis.
- According to a study published in Circulation in 2008, it also decreases the chance of developing heart disease.
- According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, it enables to reduce the chances of developing flu.
Vitamin D helps to decrease depression
From many kinds of research, it is proved that it plays a vital role in regulating mood and reduces depression. Scientists found that those individuals having depression intake vitamin D and there will be an improvement in their symptoms.
In another study, people with fibromyalgia experience both anxiety and depression.
Vitamin D boosts weight loss
If you want to lose weight or prevent heart disease, add vitamin D or supplements of it in your diet.
In one study it was showed that those individuals taking supplements of calcium and vitamin D able to lose weight in a better way than those taking placebo supplements. Because extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite -reducing effect. And they can reduce their risk of heart disease also.
Vitamin D foods
Some foods contain vitamin D naturally. A few foods are fortified with it and some foods are in added form.
Vitamin D foods include:
- egg yolk
- milk (fortified)
- cereal (fortified)
- yogurt (fortified)
- orange juice (fortified)
Now, it is hard to fulfill the requirement of vitamin D from sunlight only, so it is better to have its supplements.
How much do you need?
Earlier there had been some controversy regarding the amount of vitamin D needed for healthy body and healthy mind. Recent studies showed that you require more amount of vitamin D than expected. Generally, blood serum ranges from 50 to 100 micrograms per decilitre. Depending upon the amount of blood serum, you must take more vitamin D.
According to the Institute of food and agricultural sciences, it reports new recommendations based on international units (IUs) per day. IU is a standard of measurement for drugs and vitamins. It helps experts to decide recommended dose, toxicity and deficiency levels for every person.
For every type of vitamin, IU is not the same. An IU is decided by how much of a substance providing an effect in your body. Recommended IUs for vitamin D are:
- children and teens: 600 IU
- adults up to age 70: 600 IU
- adults over age 70: 800 IU
- pregnant or breastfeeding women: 600 IU
Interactions with Medications
Vitamin D supplements can satisfy the need for vitamin D deficiency. People taking these medications on regular basis should discuss with their doctor before taking its supplements.
Vitamin D and Healthful Diets
The federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2015-20120 notes that “Nutritional requirements should be net primarily from foods. Because foods exist in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and dietary fiber and other substances occurring naturally that may have positive health effects. In a few cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements are useful in providing one or more essential nutrients that may be consumed in less amount than recommended amounts.”