Vitamin D: Its Role and Consequences of its Deficiency
Vitamin D belongs to the category of the fat soluble secosteroids which have the ability to make our bodies absorb more quantities of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. The more popular groups in this compound are Vitamin D2 and D3.
Vitamin D plays an active role in our overall health and strong and healthy bones. This vitamin is also important in making our muscles, heart, lungs and brain function properly. Vitamin D strengthens our immune system too.
Sources of Vitamin D
Our body makes its own Vitamin D from the sunlight. While we also get it from the Vitamin D supplements and in a very little quantity from our food.
What does Vitamin D do?
Vitamin D is very important for us and makes sure that our body works properly and that our immune system is strong. The vitamin D that we get from the sun and various supplements has to be changed by our body before being used. This Vitamin D is used by our body to control the amount of calcium being absorbed and it also helps the cells to function properly.
How Vitamin D differs from other Vitamins
- Unlike other vitamins our body can make its own vitamin D when exposed to the sunlight. Whereas we can only get other vitamins from the food we eat.
- Another thing that makes vitamin D stand out from rest of the vitamins is that the vitamin D obtained by our body is turned into a hormone. This hormone is known as activated vitamin D or Calcitriol.
How does Vitamin D work?
Vitamin D mainly comes from our skin when it is exposed to the sunlight. The vitamin D produced by the sun is sent to the liver and if we take vitamin D in the form of food or supplements then our gut sends it to the liver. The liver transforms it into a substance called 25(oh)D This chemical is sent throughout our body where it is turned into activated vitamin D. Now this activated vitamin D performs all the duties working in two ways.
- It controls the calcium content in our blood, bones and gut.
- It helps the cells in our body to function properly.
Effects of vitamin D deficiency
Rickets in children and ostomalacia present in adults is one of the consequences of vitamin D deficiency. There are many other consequences also, like various other skeletal diseases and cancer. Several diseases related with the eyes and some autoimmune diseases.
Calcium is always taken with vitamin D because vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and blood calcium levels. Vitamin D deficiency causes hyperparathyroidism that causes bone loss, osteopenia, osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fracture. Our muscles are further strengthened by the effect of vitamin D on the receptors present in our muscles.
The sun’s radiation has been seen to be the most important factor for non-melanoma skin cancer. Research has also shown us that vitamin D also protects us from other cancers. In 1941, U.S. pathologist Frank Apperly published a report according to which there is an indirect relation between the UV radiation and the deaths from cancer. This means that a greater exposure to the sunlight results in fewer deaths from cancer.
Many diseases like hypertension, coronary and artery diseases, hyperlipidaemia, myocardial infraction, heart failure and strokes are linked with the deficiency of vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of many respiratory tract infections and a strong link has been found between these two. Studies are being carried out by scientists to find out how vitamin D reduces the risk of infections like pneumonia, bacteremias, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections.
The link between lack of sunlight and vitamin D was discovered 2000 years back. Vitamin D helps in controlling the production of adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine in the brain. It also plays a role in protecting serotonin and dopamine. In a study carried out on the staff of Department of Defence Serum Depository it was seen that there was increased risk of suicide in patients who had the lowest 25(OH)D levels.
A link between vitamin D and the prevention and treatment of MS has been established. Various reasons for the occurrence of MS have been diagnosed, like high latitude areas and the lack of sunlight. Studies have also linked it with our birth month.
It is seen that people with lower vitamin D levels often suffer from TB. While supplements can help to some extent studies are being carried out to find out its cause and ways to prevent it.
Vitamin D: Its Role and Consequences of its Deficiency Type 2 Diabetes:
It has been discovered through studies that those with blood vitamin D levels over 25ng/m1 have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes as compared with people with levels under 14ng/m1.
Thus we see that vitamin D plays an important role in our health and its deficiency leads to a number of health problems. read about how to balanced life