A healthy body is ensured only when it is supplied with correct and balanced nutrients. When we say correct & balanced, it directly indicates towards the essential nutrients that a body requires for to function well. Vitamins, however play an important role for a healthy being. While there are many vitamins, Vitamin D is one pivotal candidate.
The below write up will cover various aspects of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is classified under essential vitamins that are required by the body. The vitamin plays an important role is mineral absorption by the body which in turn is responsible for crucial biochemical cycles.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble chemical compound known as secosteroids. These compounds help absorb calcium, magnesium and phosphorous in the body that can regulate several biochemical pathways in the body. This is the only vitamin that is produced by the human body on its own. So, the levels of the same is regulated by your own body. Thereby, vitamin D is completely under one’s control
How does vitamin D work?
The ultraviolet rays from the sunlight when exposed to the skin, trigger Vitamin D synthesis. This vitamin D and the same obtained from various food sources are biologically inert and need to undergo a chemical reaction to get activated. Hydroxylation reactions takes place in the liver and kidney to activate the vitamin D produced. The one produced in the liver is called “Calcidiol” and the one in the kidney is called “calciferol”. Serum levels in the blood is an indication of vitamin D levels in the body and is used for diagnostics.
Advantages of Vitamin D
- Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium homeostasis and metabolism.
- Calcium absorption ensures efficient mineralization of the bones.
- Vitamin D plays a major role in cell growth, neuro muscular functions and inflammation reduction.
- Adequate levels of vitamin D also helps you maintain weight and
Disadvantages of lower levels of Vitamin D
- Bone softening or rickets disease in children will be common due to lower levels of vitamin D in the body.
- Lack of adequate levels of vitamin D in adults result in a condition osteomalacia.
- Skin pigmentation will occur with the lack of vitamin D.
- Muscle weakness and hormonal problems also surface due to inadequate levels of vitamin D.
Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D as such is not present in many foods, However, there are still some of the foods that help in Vitamin D synthesis in the body and maintain the adequate levels of the same.
- Flesh of fatty fishes like salmon and tuna contains higher levels of vitamin D and can be a potential source.
- Fish liver oils or cod liver oil again are major source of vitamin D.
- Eggs are a rich source of the vitamin. This is indeed the most common source of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for the body and sunlight is the best source of it. However, over exposure to sun may be harmful and thus the balance should be achieved. Avoid taking supplements for the same, unless required medically.