Vitamins are considered essential nutrients because either your body cannot make them or they are made in an inadequate amount.
This means that you must provide them through your diet or by taking a supplement. They are essential for your health, and when you lack in them, there will be health consequences and diseases.
Vitamin D is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), and there are two forms of it, D2 and D3. Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, comes from fortified foods, plant foods, and supplements.
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Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, comes from fortified foods, animal foods (fatty fish, cod liver oil, eggs, and liver), supplements, and can be made internally when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Vitamin D, is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet.
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is now a global public-health problem affecting an estimated 1 billion people worldwide. The most well-known consequences to not having enough vitamin D are rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
These are however, not the only problems associated with a vitamin D deficiency. Other health problems associated with Vitamin D deficiency include skeletal diseases, metabolic disorders, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, infections, cognitive disorders, and/or mortality.
Causes Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Inadequate exposure to sunlight
Vitamin D is unlike any other vitamin because it is a “pro-hormone” produced in the skin with sunlight exposure. In particular, the sun is the main source of Vitamin D3.
Kidney or liver disease
Kidney and liver diseases can impair vitamin D conversion to its active form
Inadequate Consumption of Vitamin D in Food
Although the sun’s rays are the primary source of vitamin D, the nutrient can also be found in foods such as fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel and cod), oysters, shrimp, beef liver and eggs.
As you age, your kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, calcitriol, which can lead to a deficiency.
Problems in the digestive tract can cause inadequate absorption of vitamin D
Obesity (Body Mass Index greater than 30)
Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells. The more fat in the body, the less vitamin D is released into the circulation.
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Here Are Some Signs/Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency
- Weight gain
- Bone softening (low bone density) or fractures
- Fatigue and generalized weakness
- Muscle cramps and weakness
- Joint pain (most noticeable in the back and knees)
- Blood sugar issues
- Low immunity
- Low calcium levels in the blood
- Mood changes and irritability
Foods that contain vitamin D and can be eaten to augment exposure to sunlight include: Catfish, Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines, Tuna, Eggs, Beef Liver and Fish Liver Oil.