by S Sharma | 30 NOV 2017
Most of the Vitamin D produced in our body is when we are exposed to sunlight. Use of sunscreens and no exposure to sunlight causes Vitamin D deficiency, says Dr K. Sudhir Reddy, Consultant Orthopaedic & Joint Replacement Surgeon, Landmark Hospitals
Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn't properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.
Why is Vitamin D important?
Your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. Vitamin D is found in some foods and supplements. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is critical to bone strength and health
How do we actually get Vitamin D from the sun?
Vitamin D3 is made in our skin. When we expose our skin to ultraviolet B, something called photolysis happens of a chemical called 7 – dehydrocholesterol, which turns it into previtamin – D3. This happens on the outermost layer of our skin called the epidermis. Further, metabolism happens in the liver, kidney.
What does Vitamin D do for the body?
It increases calcium absorption from the gastrointestinal tract and helps control calcium deposition in bone.
Why aren’t we getting enough Vitamin D?
Most of the Vitamin D produced in our body is when we are exposed to sunlight. Use of sunscreens and no exposure to sunlight causes Vitamin D deficiency. Fat malabsorption and people with dark skin produce less Vitamin D. Vegetarian food consists of only trace amounts of Vitamin D. It is found in fatty fish like tuna and salmon, beef liver, cheese, egg yolk. Fortified foods are best available option for vegetarians.
Can one consume too much Vitamin D?
No, Hypervitaminosis D is mainly due to excess supplementation only. It is very rare but potentially serious condition. Too much Vitamin D can cause abnormally high levels of calcium in blood. This can affect bones, tissues and other organs. The symptoms are fatigue, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, excessive urination, constipation, confusion, etc.
What happens if you don’t get enough Vitamin D?
Vitamin D deficiency leads to impaired bone mineralization and bone damage and cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Calcium deficiency leads to osteoporosis, osteopenia.
What are some of the signs of Vitamin D deficiency?
The signs of Vitamin D deficiency are muscle soreness, weakness and bone pain. Hypocalcaemia causes confusion or memory loss, muscle spasms, depression, weak and brittle nails.
What else should we know about Vitamin D supplement?
Vitamin D intake is recommended at 400–800 IU/day, or 10–20 micrograms. However, some studies suggest that a higher daily intake of 1000–4000 IU (25–100 micrograms) is needed to maintain optimal blood levels.
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