Saturday 25 December 2021

Vitamin D - How much do you know about the sunlight vitamin?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and helps calcium, magnesium and phosphate absorption in the body. It is also known as the sunlight vitamin as it is synthesized by the skin in response to the early morning sun. The synthesis depends on the season and time of the day etc. This vitamin is most vital for facilitating normal immune system function and is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against diseases. 

 Its deficiency may result in adverse health problems especially in pregnant women and infants. The deficiency is linked to preeclampsia, low birthweight, neonatal hypocalcemia, poor postnatal growth, bone fragility, and increased incidence of autoimmune. It is also associated with disorders of bone and mineral metabolism and, in particular, the development of rickets and osteomalacia in children. 

Vitamin D deficiency is quite common but most people are not aware of it. Vitamin D deficiency can have multiple symptoms. Not just your overall health, it can affect the skin as well. Some signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are visible on your skin as well.

Some other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency you may experience include-

  • Rickets in children

  • Osteomalacia (bones are weak and prone to fracture and malformation)

  • Osteoporosis (low bone density and fragility in adults)

  • Muscle weakness and frequent falls

Who are the most vulnerable groups of vitamin D deficiency?

  • Pregnant and lactating mothers

  • Neonates and infants

  • Older adults 65 years and above

  • People who are indoors for a long period of time and those whose skin are always covered 

  • High levels of melanin in skin (dark skinned people)

How do we obtain it?

Vitamin D is found in foods such as fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna), fish and marine animal lover, soy milk, egg yolk, orange juice, cocoa, mushrooms and fortified foods (Cereals, milk, margerine). However, for most people, the dietary intake of vitamin D is relatively low and the majority of it is not synthesised.

Make sure you have enough vitamin D-rich foods in order to lead a healthy life. Consult a doctor if you see these symptoms to ensure proper medications and advice. 

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