Vitamin D is commonly known as the “Sunshine” vitamin. It is prepared by the liver cells from cholesterol.
The Vitamin D is actually a hormone as the intermediate products (7 de hydro-cholesterol) of its precursor, are activated underneath the skin, in UV radiation obtained from the sun.
Table of Contents
- Common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
- The Vitamin D Functions
- Why is Vitamin D important?
- Ramifications lined to Vitamin D deficiency
Lack of Vitamin D can lead to potential side effects in the body which can lead to abnormal regulation of metabolism inside the body.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is absorbed only in the presence of sunlight. It is responsible for the strength of your muscles, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin D is known as one of the chief vitamins that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. It helps in the defensive mechanism and boosts immunity.
Very few natural sources of Vitamin D are present. Some sources of Vitamin D are fatty fish like salmon, tuna, shrimp and mackerel.
It is also found in fish liver oils which contain a good amount of Vit D and traces of Vit D is seen to be found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolk. Less exposure to sunlight or staying indoors can result in Vitamin D deficiency.
Sunlight helps in the proper absorption and activation of Vitamin D consumption but most of us do not give this a thought.
Insufficient nutrition or lack of a proper dietary intake could be the cause of Vitamin D deficiency. Having excessive melanin content in the skin could block the absorption of Vitamin D, thus leading to Vitamin deficiency
Common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are:
1. Falling sick often:
Vitamin D helps in fighting against the harmful pathogens and bacteria that try to invade your system. Vitamin D is responsible for triggering the immune system and thus, its presence acts as a protective shield.
If you are falling ill frequently, especially from respiratory ailments, it is highly likely that you are suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency.
Smoking aggravates the problem of respiratory diseases like COPD and Vitamin D deficiency was found in the smoking group of people.
2. Lethargy or physical tiredness:
Getting tired easily could sprout from Vitamin D deficiency. Lack of Vitamin D has been shown to instigate exhaustion and weariness in people even after a good night sleep. These symptoms can be a warning signal for you in case you are also experiencing the same signs.
3. Fragile or weak bones:
Having brittle bones is quite an indication that you are living through Vitamin D deficiency. The growth of bones is supplemented with sources of Vitamin D and its deficiency leads to thinning of bones or bone loss.
Vitamin D promotes the growth and development of bones. Studies have shown that “shortage of Vitamin D accompanied by Calcium results in poor skeletal health” as concluded by the experiment conducted.
4. Bone loss:
Bone loss is caused by reduced levels of Vitamin D and Calcium. Reabsorption of Calcium is inhibited by PTH (Parathormone) if your blood levels do not contain enough calcium which is supported by Vitamin D.
This predisposes you to health conditions like osteomalacia (weakening of the bones), osteopenia (reduction in bone density) and osteoarthritis.
Thus, you are at an increased risk of fractures when you get older as your bones are prone to wearing off due to lack of Vitamin D.
5. Mood-associated disorders:
Shifting of mood unreasonably could implicate Vitamin D deficiency. The deficit of Vitamin D results in causing anxiety and depression amongst people of greater age.
Vitamin D Functions
- The Vitamin D functions in the proper absorption of Calcium and phosphorus which are vital for body functions. This aids in the growth of bones and helps the bones become fortified.
- It helps in more absorption of Calcium and Phosphorus from the gastrointestinal tract. It also facilitates in the re-absorption mechanism of these minerals in the kidneys. Vitamin D also promotes movement of calcium from the bones into the circulating blood.
- Vitamin D is essential for facilitating calcium deposition in the bone. Hence it is responsible for stronger bones and teeth.
- It blocks the secretion of Parathyroid hormone which causes calcium re-absorption from bones. The kidneys stimulate the conversion of 25-hydroxy Vitamin D3 to its active form 1,25-dihydroxy Vit D3. Vitamin D3 is required for the calcium to get deposited in the bone.
- When there is less supply of calcium in the blood, your parathyroid glands start to secrete PTH in the bloodstream which tries withdrawing calcium from bones.
- If there is a lack of Vitamin D in the body, the activity is not stopped here and thus the whole regulation of calcium uptakes gets disturbed. This results in thinning down of bones making them porous and fragile.
- Vitamin D facilitates the reduction of inflammation
- Having an ample amount of Vitamin D in your body could prevent the risk of cancer.
Why is Vitamin D important?
Vitamin D is very important as it is one of the utmost essential nutrients needed by your body. Although it is required in small amounts, it plays a significant role in your growth and maintenance of muscle and bone health and the immune system.
Vitamin D causes a disease more familiar in the old days, known as Rickets. In Rickets, the bones are not able to make use of the calcification process resulting in growth retardation.
When developed in a child, the bones start to bend as bones are weak and not properly formed to bear its own weight owing to Vitamin D deficiency. This poses difficulty in walking and other weight-bearing exercises. In Vitamin D deficiency, production of Calcium-binding protein is slowed down in the epithelial cells lining the intestine.
This causes in the movement of Calcium unabsorbed and hence the body is unable to utilize the presence of calcium intake. Vitamin D can be obtained from Cholesterol which acts as the precursor.
Cholesterol breaks down into product 7-cholesterol which is then further converted to Vitamin D3 or Cholecalciferol. Cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3 is further modified by the liver into 25-hydroxy Vitamin D3.
Ramifications lined to Vitamin D deficiency
- In the case of liver malfunctioning such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Vitamin D deficiency is found to have increased hepatic inflammation observed. NAFLD is a condition in which excessive fat builds up in the liver brought about by alcohol abuse. Clinical studies have shown the role played by Vitamin D in regulating inflammation of the liver and fibrogenesis, thereby enhancing liver function to insulin.
- 25-hydroxy Vitamin D3 is inactive when formed. It is activated only when the kidneys chemically alter this 25-hydroxy Vit D3 into an active form.
- When the kidneys are not functioning normally, Vitamin D3 cannot be utilizsed in your body as the activation of Vitamin D3 does not occur. People with CKD or chronic kidney disease often experience Vitamin D deficiency.
Can Deficiency of Vitamin B12 be Damaging?
From the above discussion, it is clear that Vitamin D is indispensable for the sustenance and proper functioning of the human body.