Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that performs a number of essential functions. It is so important that your body makes it by itself, but only after skin exposure to sufficient sunlight.
It acts more like a hormone since the body can synthesize it from cholesterol after the skin is exposed to UVB rays from the sun.
You can gain vitamin D through three different routes: Skin, diet and supplements.
What are the benefits of vitamin D?
Vitamin D plays a vital part in balancing moods, managing insulin levels, maintaining a healthy metabolism and reducing inflammation. It also helps the body absorb calcium (one of bone’s main building blocks) from food and supplements.
People who get too little of it may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
Recent research has also shown that vitamin D may be linked to lowering the risk of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and some cancers.
It can even prevent heart disease and dementia.
For pregnant ladies, studies have found that intake of vitamin D may reduce the risk of many pregnancy complications
The most conclusive information about the normal vitamin D levels comes from evidence in bone and teeth development.
How do you get Vitamin D?
Vitamin D comes in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
Vitamin D2, which is also known as ergocalciferol, comes from vitamin supplements, fortified foods, and some plant foods like mushrooms.
Vitamin D3, which is also known as cholecalciferol, on the other hand, comes from a number of animal foods, including fatty fish like salmon, cod liver oil, eggs, and liver.
Vitamin D3 is also made internally when the skin is exposed to the sun’s UV rays.
Virgin olive oil and olives are also a source of the vitamin.
Your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D drops with age. If you’re over age 65, you generate only one-fourth of it.
Add the products rich in Vitamin D to your diet early on at a younger age.
What can be side effects of vitamin D deficiency?
A vitamin D deficiency may be linked to alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes patchy hair loss. It stimulates hair follicles, so a deficiency may lead to hair loss.
Fatigue can have many causes, and vitamin D deficiency may be one of them. Bone and back pain, impaired wound healing, bone loss and muscle pain are other symptoms of deficiency.
Two poster presentations made at the October 2014 annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association offered interesting findings about the link between Vitamin D and autoimmune thyroid disease. It’s deficiency is directly linked to thyroid disease which means it may cause it.
Coming to psychological health, scientists have found that people with low vitamin D symptoms are 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels.
Taken in appropriate doses, vitamin D is generally considered safe. However, taking too much of it can be harmful.
Nausea, vomiting, bone loss and poor appetite can be the results of too much intake. Many side effects are related to excessive calcium in the blood.
For adults aged 18 to 70, the minimum recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 15 micrograms. For adults over the age of 70, doctors recommend at least 20 micrograms per day.
Don’t let too many supplements cloud the effect of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin.