How Healthy Is Vitamin D?
No one can undermine the crucial roles vitamins play in our overall diet. There are various vitamins that are each relevant to the proper growth and development of your body. One of these vitamins is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a unique type of vitamin. It is a combination of some steroids that are fat-soluble. Vitamin D primarily helps your body to process and absorb phosphate and calcium through your intestinal tract.
The uniqueness of vitamin D is in the fact that, unlike other types of vitamins, it is not sourced from food. In short, your body doesn’t need to rely on any particular food to gain the vitamin D it needs. Your body makes vitamin D on its own, just as plants produce their food, with enough time in the sunlight. Of course, there are vitamin D supplements available for those who have deficient vitamin D supply — their bodies fail to synthesize the vitamin independently. If you expose your body to adequate quantities of sunlight, especially the mild rays of the morning sun, you won’t be needing such supplements. You may also know that vitamins come in forms or categories; vitamin D has five types.
Types of Vitamin D
This is a form of vitamin D which is a molecular compound of both lumisterol and ergocalciferol.
Your body doesn’t produce this form of vitamin D — vertebrate animals and humans don’t have vitamin D in their bodies. Plants, invertebrates, fungus develop vitamin D in the presence of sunlight.
The production of this vitamin is mostly the responsibility of your skin. Your skin produces vitamin D3 when ultraviolet rays from the sun meet with 7 dehyrocholestrol. For this reaction to take place, you must enjoy skin exposure to the sun for about fifteen minutes two or more times every week. At such times, you won’t be wearing any sunscreen or UV protective cosmetics.
Vitamins D4 and D5
While vitamin D4 is basically dihydroeggocalci, vitamin D5 is created from 7 dehydositosterol.
These are the five forms of vitamin D, and as a group, they are also called calciferol.
The most beneficial forms of vitamin D to us as human beings are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. You can get vitamin D through direct sunlight exposure, but your source for vitamin D is not limited to this; there are some types of food and a couple of vitamin D supplements out there too. So, if you run out of Vitamin D and you really can’t get enough time in the sun, you always have other options. Some of these alternative vitamin D sources in food include orange juice, salmon, cereals, low-fat milk, tuna, eggs, soy milk, and Swiss cheese. A recommended average intake of vitamin D for young and middle-aged adults is 600IU daily, while people older than 70 years need 800IU daily. An average serving of salmon and tuna contains about 200IU of vitamin D while low-fat milk, soy milk, and orange juice contain about 100IU.
4 Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency in Children
Vitamin D is as important as any other type of vitamin to your body. When your body does not get the nutrients it needs, it begins to suffer certain deficiencies. So, whenever your body falls short of vitamin D supply, it develops symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Some of these symptoms are easily overlooked or misinterpreted as symptoms of other diseases because they can be nonspecific and unclear. Nonetheless, these symptoms negatively affect some bodily functions. There are also some cases of severe vitamin D deficiency leading to deformities in the bone.
If you occasionally feel a few unexplainable body aches here and there or you`re usually tired, you may not be getting just enough vitamin D. In children, the symptoms are numerous; here are some of them.
Cramps and Respiratory Difficulties
If a baby suffers from severe vitamin D deficiency, it may suffer muscle cramps and experience breathing difficulties. The muscles in the chest of the child are weak, and this makes the child struggle with respiration. This is usually the case for the muscles of the heart too. This deficiency of vitamin D is tied with low calcium levels and can contribute to seizures.
Bone and Muscle Weakness
A child may develop weak bones if they are vitamin D-deficient; this will then lead to poor bone formation in the hands and legs. Such children develop curved or bow legs. Rickets, which is a disease that affects the bones and muscles of kids, is also a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
The absence of vitamin D in growing children negatively affects their growth and development; they struggle to attain the average height expected at their age. Sometimes, this growth deficiency affects the walking posture and stamina of such children. Teething can also be affected because of a delay in the growth of their milk teeth.
Low Blood Calcium and Irritability
Children also suffer irritability and extremely low calcium levels in their blood due to severe rickets caused by vitamin D deficiency.
Adults, like children, suffer from vitamin D deficiency too, and this can lead to some undesirable symptoms.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency in Adults
Just as the little ones, adults without enough vitamin D develop weak muscles, and this makes some muscle-tasking activities more difficult to undertake. You may find some exercises too difficult to do, and this could also affect your walking posture.
Vitamin D is essential for bone development and strength. You can experience painful sensations in your bones and joints under light pressure due to lack of enough vitamin D. This pain can extend to your thighs, hips, lower back, and feet.
4 Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Limited Sun Exposure
There are a couple of things that can supply you with the vitamin D you need, but you can really run low on vitamin D if the time you spend outside exposed to the sun is limited. Since your body produces most of the vitamin D it needs under the influence of sunlight, you will eventually fall short of vitamin D supply if you stay indoors for too long.
Higher Melanin Levels
The more melanin in your skin, the higher the risk of inadequate Vitamin D. This is because the melanin reduces the absorption of vitamin D into your body. So, the darker the tone of your skin, the harder it becomes for your skin to absorb vitamin D.
Failure of your body to benefit from vitamin D is, many times, a problem of absorption. Obesity is a stumbling block to the absorption of vitamin D into your body. The fat cells usually extract the vitamin D from your blood, and this disturbs its distribution. The higher the body weight, the lower the vitamin D absorbed into your blood.
Some diseases also disrupt the processing of vitamin D. Cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease usually come in between the intestine’s absorption of vitamin D from food.
Your kidneys do a lot of vital works for your body, and one of such processes is the conversion of vitamin D into its active form. Vitamin D might be absorbed into the body, but if the kidneys don’t convert them into their active form, they don’t give their benefits. This difficulty for the kidneys is sometimes as a result of aging.
How to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency
Here are some proven ways to prevent the symptoms and diseases that follow the deficiency of vitamin D.
It`s as simple as that. You should devise a plan to spend more time outside. Take a daily walk in the sun to ensure that you have the required natural vitamin D supply. Our bodies are designed to make the best out of prolonged exposure to the sun, and this is the best way to prevent vitamin D deficiency.
If you can`t get enough exposure to the sun, you have the option to take daily supplements rich in vitamin D. This will help provide vitamin D which has not come from the sun. Women are also advised to take vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and lactation in order to replenish those lost during the rapid loss of essential nutrients. This will prevent vitamin D deficiency in both mother and child.
Older people seem to experience a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency because they don’t always get out or their bodies fail to properly absorb vitamin D. A daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D is usually prescribed.
How your Body Benefits from Vitamin D
- Vitamin D improves your immune system and promotes stronger bones by aiding your body in the absorption of phosphorus and calcium.
- Vitamin D strengthens your muscles and prevents muscle aches, spasms and some types of respiratory difficulties.
- It also lessens stress and body tension.
Vitamin D reduces the possibility of developing sclerosis and other bone-related diseases.
- Vitamin D cares for your skin through certain anti-inflammatory and anti-aging activities.
- It maintains your body weight and keeps the brain of the elderly active.
- Vitamin D promotes hair growth and may prevent quick loss of hair.
- Vitamin D also balances the calcium in your body.
Vitamin D is essential for the growth and proper development of your body. In its unique way, it balances other nutrients like calcium and prevents the rise of severe health complications such as rickets. You must always think about the provision of vitamin D for your body.