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What are Vitamin D – Reasons, Symptoms And More

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What Are Vitamins

Vitamins are a group of substances that are needed for normal cell function, growth, and development. There are 13 essential vitamins. They are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), Pantothenic acid (B5), Biotin (B7), Folate (folic acid or B9). Each of the vitamins listed has an important job in the body. A vitamin deficiency occurs when you do not get enough of a certain vitamin.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of many vitamins your body needs to stay healthy. It is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally vitamin deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But the research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.

Some vitamin D roles in the body include:

  •  Improving muscle strength.
  • Keeping your immune system strong, helps to fight off infections.
  • Protecting you against certain cancers.
  • Reducing your risk of falls.
  • Helping to stave off depression and low mood.
  • Keep your energy levels up.

 Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

Reasons For The Deficiency

It is naturally present in a few foods, and often in amounts too low to help a person meet their daily recommended intake. Its deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:

  1. You don’t consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if you follow a strict vegan diet, because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk, and beef liver. Here are the best vitamin d foods for vegetarians.
  2. Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure. During the winter, vitamin D deficiency can be more prevalent because there is less sunlight available.
  3. You have dark skin. Thus, the pigment melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency.
  4. Your kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form. As people age, their kidneys are less able to convert to their active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin deficiency.
  5. Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin Certain medical problems, including Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and also celiac disease can affect your intestine’s ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat.
  6. You are obese. Vitamin is extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release into the circulation. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D.

According to a 2020 review by Trusted Source, 50% of the worldwide population has insufficient levels of vitamin D. In the United States, 35% of adults have the deficiency. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is highest among older adults, people with obesity, and people in hospitals and other care facilities.

Symptoms For Deficiency

Many people with vitamin D deficiency also have no symptoms. However, the deficiency can cause the following issues.

  • Frequent infections or illnesses – It helps support the immune system ,it plays a role in regulating immune function and inhibiting inflammatory reactions. It can also help with infections in the upper respiratory tract.
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness – Because vitamin D is key to bone health, an insufficient amount can cause bone and muscle weakness, which can lead to fatigue. Researchers behind a 2014 study that included 174 participants with fatigue found that taking supplementary vitamin D for 5 weeks significantly improved fatigue symptoms.
  • Bone and joint pain – This can increase bone mass and also prevent bone loss. If someone has bone and joint pain, it may indicate a vitamin deficiency. Joint pain could also result from issues such as rheumatoid arthritis. A 2012 study linked its deficiency with an increased risk of developing the condition.
  • Osteoporosis – Adequate vitamin in the body helps maintain bone strength by supporting the absorption of calcium. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, this is particularly important for females after menopause, which can cause the bone density to decrease and the risk of osteoporosis to increase. If someone has a fracture, the doctor might test their vitamin level, depending on the person’s age and health history.
  • Depression – The authors of a 2019 review have found that lower levels of vitamins may increase the risk of depression. There are vitamin receptors in the brain, and the research indicates that the vitamin has a protective anti-inflammatory effect. As a result, the scientists conclude, that a person with very low vitamin levels and depression may benefit from taking a supplement of it.
  • Slow wound healing – If wounds take longer than usual to heal, it might be a sign of low vitamin levels. Results of an in vitro study suggest that it plays an important role in wound healing because it regulates growth factors and other compounds that form new tissue. Another study has found that people with leg ulcers were more likely to have vitamin deficiencies. And also those who took 50,000 international units (IU) of the vitamin every week for 2 months experienced better-wound healing, the researchers observed.
  • In Children: The deficiency can develop at an early age. In response, U.S. health authorities mandate that infant formula is fortified with 40–100 IU/100 kilocalories of the vitamin.
  • Symptoms of  deficiency in children include:
  • irritability
  • lethargy
  • bone pain or fractures
  • deformities of the teeth
  • developmental delays

Complications

Rickets

Rickets develops from a vitamin deficiency, and it is very rare . The condition appears mostly in babies and preschool-age children, though it can arise in older kids. It affects the development of the bones, wrists, knees, and joints in the ribs, as well as it cause the bowing of the legs. Doctors treat rickets with vitamin supplements by ensuring that there is enough calcium in the diet.

Cardiovascular disease

According to the research, there is a connection between vitamin D levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease. And this may be because it protects the heart and combats inflammation. An older review found that low vitamin levels are linked to other conditions that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease — conditions such as hypertension and metabolic syndrome.

Autoimmune disease

It is a natural immune modulator, and research  suggests that low levels of the vitamin may be connected to autoimmune diseases, including:

type 1 diabetes

multiple sclerosis

rheumatoid arthritis

Crohn’s disease

Conclusion

Basically ,the deficiency of vitamin D is common, and people may not realize that they have it. Also, it is important to consult a healthcare provider before taking supplements that would exceed the recommended daily intake.

Also Read – Vitamin D And Skin – The Care To Take

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