Vitamin D - Sources, Health Benefits, Complications and More image

Vitamin D - Sources, Health Benefits, Complications And More

Vitamin D (calciferol) is a Fat Soluble Vitamin that is produced endogenously when ultraviolet light rays of sunlight strike the skin and trigger Vitamin -D synthesis.

Vitamin D Supplements are available in two forms: 

  • Vitamin D2 ("ergocalciferol" or pre-vitamin D) – is produced in plants and fungi.
  • Vitamin D3 ("cholecalciferol") – is made in animals, including humans.

Both are also naturally occurring forms produced in the presence of the sun's ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays, hence its nickname, "the sunshine Vitamin ." 

Roles of Vitamin D in the body:-

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in many bodily functions.

Healthy bones

  • Vitamin D stimulates intestinal Calcium Serum levels, which is necessary for healthy bone structure.
  • Vitamin D deficiency in children can cause Rickets, leading to a bowlegged appearance due to the softening of the bones. 
  • Similarly, in Adults, Vitamin D manifests as Osteomalacia, i.e., a softening of the bones. Osteomalacia results in poor bone density, and long-term Vitamin -D deficiency can also present as osteoporosis.

Immune function

  • An adequate Vitamin D intake may support good immune function and reduce the risk of Autoimmune diseases s.
  • There may be a link between Long-term Vitamin -D deficiency and the development of autoimmune conditions, such as asthma, Diabetes, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Factors affecting the deficiency of Vitamin D:-

Although the body can create Vitamin -D, some people are more likely to be at risk of a deficiency than others. Factors that can affect this include:

  1. Skin color: Dark skin elevates the body's ability to absorb UV rays from the sun. Absorbing sunlight is necessary for the skin to produce Vitamin -D.
  2. Lacking sun exposure: People who live in areas of high pollution or northern latitudes, work night shifts, or are homebound should consume Vitamin -D from food sources if possible.
  3. People with obesity: High body fat levels can limit the body's ability to absorb Vitamin -D from the skin.
  4. Breastfeeding: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that all breastfeeding babies receive 400 international units (IU) per day of Vitamin -D orally.
  5. Older Adults: The skin's ability to synthesize Vitamin -D decreases with age.
  6. Fat Absorption: Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so it depends on the gut to absorb dietary fats. Conditions that restrict fat Absorption can decrease Vitamin D intake from the diet.
  7.  A gastric bypass surgery: Vitamin D is absorbed from the upper intestine. This bypass can cause a deficiency.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:-

Most people with a Vitamin -D deficiency do not present with Symptoms

But a chronic deficiency may cause hyperparathyroidism, hypocalcemia, a Calcium deficiency disease, etc.

These conditions can lead to Secondary signs and symptoms, including :

  • bone fragility, especially in older people
  • osteoporosis
  • myalgias, or muscle pain
  • bone pain
  • fatigue
  • muscle twitching
  • muscle weakness
  • arthralgias, or joint stiffness

If Vitamin -D deficiency continues for Long periods, the following complications may be Seen:

  • cardiovascular conditions
  • autoimmune problems
  • neurological diseases
  • infections
  • pregnancy complications
  • certain cancers, including breast, prostate, and colon

Vitamin D in infants:-

Childhood is a period of rapid bone growth. Due to this, infants need to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D.

Chronic Vitamin -D deficiency can cause Rickets, a softening of bone tissues that can lead to the malformation of bones and joints.

Vitamin D deficiency also has links to high blood pressure and hypertension in children. There is a possible connection between low Vitamin -D levels and wall stiffness in Arteries in children.

An institution like the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) discusses a connection between low Vitamin -D exposure and a high risk of allergic Sensitization.

For example, children who live closer to the equator have lower hospital admission rates for allergies and are less prone to peanut allergies.

Vitamin D in pregnancy:-

Pregnant people deficient in Vitamin D may risk developing preeclampsia and preterm delivery.

There may be an association between higher Vitamin -D concentrations during pregnancy and a decreased risk of preeclampsia and premature birth.

Some research associates a poor Vitamin -D status with Gestational Diabetes. Treating Vitamin -D deficiency may also reduce the risk of asymptomatic Bacterial Vaginosis in pregnant people. 

An association between adequate Vitamin -D intake during pregnancy and a reduced risk of asthma and food allergy development in the newborn baby may be associated. 

Sources of Vitamin D:-

People can often get most of their Supplements during the winter when the sun is not as intense.

A variety of food sources and their Vitamin D levels per Serving are listed in Table.

Table: Vitamin -D Content of Selected Foods

Food

Micrograms
(mcg) per
serving

International
Units (IU)
per Serving

Percent DV*

Cod liver oil, one tablespoon

34.0

1,360

170

Trout (rainbow), cooked, 3 ounces

16.2

645

81

Salmon (sockeye), cooked, 3 ounces

14.2

570

71

Mushrooms, white, raw, exposed to UV light, ½ cup

9.2

366

46

Milk, 2% fat, Vitamin D fortified, 1 cup

2.9

120

15

Almond, Soya, and oat milk, Vitamin D fortified, 1 cup

2.5-3.6

100-144

13-18

Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with  Vit.  D, 1 Serving

2.0

80

10

Sardines (Atlantic), canned in oil, 2 Sardines

1.2

46

6

Egg, one large, scrambled**

1.1

44

6

Liver, beef, 3 ounces

1.0

42

5

Tuna fish (light), canned in water, 3 ounces

1.0

40

5

Cheese, cheddar, 1.5 ounce

0.4

17

2

Mushrooms, portabella, raw, diced, ½ cup

0.1

4

1

Chicken breast, roasted, 3 ounces

0.1

4

1

Beef, ground, 90% lean, broiled, 3 ounces

0

1.7

0

Broccoli, raw, chopped, ½ cup

0

0

0

Carrots, raw, chopped, ½ cup

0

0

0

Almonds, 1 ounce

0

0

0

Apple,

0

0

0

Banana,

0

0

0

Rice, brown, cooked, 1 cup

0

0

0

Whole wheat bread, one slice

0

0

0

Lentils, boiled, ½ cup

0

0

0

Sunflower Seeds, roasted, ½ cup

0

0

0

Edamame, shelled, cooked, ½ cup

0

0

0

* DV = Daily Value

Dosage of Vitamin D:-

People can measure Vitamin D as equivalent to 40 IU.

The recommended daily intakes of Vitamin D are as follows:

Table: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin

Age

Male

Female

Pregnancy

Lactation

0-12 months*

Ten mcg
(400 IU)

Ten mcg
(400 IU)

   

1–13 years

15 mcg
(600 IU)

15 mcg
(600 IU)

   

14–18 years

15 mcg
(600 IU)

15 mcg
(600 IU)

15 mcg
(600 IU)

15 mcg
(600 IU)

19–50 years

15 mcg
(600 IU)

15 mcg
(600 IU)

15 mcg
(600 IU)

15 mcg
(600 IU)

51–70 years

15 mcg
(600 IU)

15 mcg
(600 IU)

   

>70 years

20 mcg
(800 IU)

20 mcg
(800 IU)

   

*Adequate Intake (AI)

Vitamin D toxicity:-

The upper limit healthcare professionals recommend for Vitamin D is 4000 IU daily for an Adult person. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that Vitamin -D toxicity is unlikely at intakes under 10,000 IU per day...

The most common Vitamin D can also lead to the following:

  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • a metallic taste
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • Hypercalcemia - excessive Hypercalcemia can be life-threatening, 

"Hypercalcemia requires immediate medical attention."

Excessive Vitamin -D usually occurs from accidental overconsumption and prescription errors.

"A complete diet and regular eating patterns are most important in disease prevention and good health. Eating a diet with various Nutrients is better than concentrating on only a few Nutrients ."

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