Are you familiar with the term ‘sunshine vitamin’? It refers to vitamin D which is synthesized in the body when our bare skin is exposed to sunlight. Beside from sunlight, vitamin D can also be obtained from fish, cod liver oil, egg yolk, magnesium content milk, and seeds. Vitamin D plays an important role in building a good bone health as it helps the body to absorb calcium. Current researches have also investigated the role of vitamin D in preventing and treating diabetes types I and II, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D deficiency is often associated with rickets disease in which the bone tissues fail to mineralize new bones during growth and cause weak bones and other bone deformities. A vitamin D deficiency is characterized with bone pain and muscle weakness. However these symptoms are subjective and may not always occur.
In addition, vitamin D deficiency can also generate other diseases, for instance: cognitive impairment in the elderly, asthma development at an early age, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Vitamin D deficiency may happen when a person does not get enough sunlight nor has an allergic reaction to dairy products. Beside to these common causal factors, vitamin D deficiency can also occur due to a number of other reasons:
1. A low intake of vitamin D.
This is especially happens to vegetarians who tend to sustain a strict diet. Most of vitamin D sources are from animal products, such as fish, egg yolks and beef liver.
2. Living environment.
People who spend most of their time indoor or live in northern regions with little exposure to sunlight may have a higher risk to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
3. Darker skin.
The melanin in people with dark skin reduces the ability of skin cells to absorb vitamin D from sunlight.
4. Decline in kidney function.
People who suffer from a chronic kidney disease are not able to convert vitamin D into active compounds. The elderly have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency due to decreased kidney function.
5. Inadequate absorption of vitamin D.
This is commonly happen due to several gastrointestinal disorders, like Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and Celiac disease.
People with a genetic predisposition for being heavier tend to have a lower-than-optimal level of vitamin D. This is because the excessive fat deposits prevent the vitamin from circulating in the bloodstream.
You can find out whether you have a vitamin D deficiency problem by measuring the 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration in the blood through blood tests. However, the most appropriate ways to prevent the deficiency of vitamin D are by maintaining healthy and balanced diet, as well as to getting proper amount of sunlight every day. Vitamin D supplement can be taken under doctor’s recommendation and supervision.