Vitamin D is one of the fat soluble vitamins. Also known as calciferol, based on its function, it occurs in two forms such as vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) andD3 (cholecaliferol). It can be mainly synthesized by the body on exposure to sunlight, it can also be obtained from foods or supplement though in minimal amounts when compared to those produced on the skin .vitamin D after its produced on the skin or obtained from diet does last long in the body, it is either through some biochemical processes degraded in the liver or stored as fat cells in the body. The unique property of vitamin D is that once in the body it can be converted to a hormone which is called calcitrol or activated vitamin D. This hormone functions as a regulator of phosphorous and calcium levels in the body and also ensures proper communication among cells in the body. It is such an indispensable vitamin, necessary for healthy and strong bones, ensuring effective functioning of the muscles, heart, lungs, brain, and the immune system. It also aids the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in to the body from foods. It is found in all cells in the body.
Sources of Vitamin D
Naturally, vitamin is found in foods like fresh raw milk, fatty fish (tuna and mackerel). Vitamin D is also found in beef, egg yolk, liver, and cheese though in small amounts. It is also found in mushrooms exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Fortified milks, breakfast cereals, and some juices.
Recommended Daily Intake
This is usually dependent upon the age of the individual aged 0-12 months are expected to take at least 400 international units of (IU) of vitamin D. children under 13 years have their recommended daily intake to be 600IU. While teen aged 14-18 and adults from 19-70 have 600IU AND 800 IU as the daily recommended intake of vitamin D. Pregnant women as well as lactating mothers are expected to consume up to 600IU as aged people from 71 and still counting have 800IU as the recommended amount of vitamin D.
Since vitamin D is aft soluble vitamin , when it is consumed in excessive concentration it could lead to vitamin toxicity or poisoning evidenced by constipation, weakness, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, increase of blood calcium levels .this could also lead to confusion , increased in the pace of heart beats and damage to the liver. The upper limits for vitamin D include 1000IU for children and 4000IU for adults.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been linked based on research to some diseases and problems ranging from auto immune diseases, high blood sugar level disorders, hypertensions , bone diseases and some cancer types.
Vitamin D in adequate levels in the body has been linked to minimize the risk of bone disorders like osteoporosis in aged individuals. It is also indicated in the prevention of osteomalacia which often leads to poor bone density, seeming fractures in the femur, spine or the humerus.
The role this vitamin plays in the prevention of cancer is due to its ability to regulate cell growth and influence the overall communications within cells in the body. The activated form of vitamin D, the hormone has been proven via research to delay or slow down the progress of cancer cells from inherent spread.
Preeclampsia and cesarean surgical procedures appear to be imminent when a pregnant has low levels of vitamin D in the body. Adequate levels of vitamin D in the diets of a pregnant woman reduces the risk if bacterial vaginoses, gestational diabetes. However it is important to note that if vitamin D is consumed excessively and unchecked, it could lead to the increased food allergy of a child two years after birth.
The risk of having a diabetic condition is really low with areola intake of vitamin D. This is according to the findings of a research carried out; it further explains that low levels of vitamin D in the body affects the secretions of insulin and the tolerance of glucose in the body, this is often associated with type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D has also been implicated with the occurrence of several allergic or atopic diseases that occur in children. These diseases include asthma, eczema, and atopic dermatitis. Even the blood pressure of infants could be reduced with changes in the vitamin concentration of the blood of such of such infants.
Also the potency of glucocorticoids against steroid-resistant asthma could be increased as vitamin D increases the anti-inflammatory effects of this drug making a better therapeutic option in handling such disease condition. It has also been associated to reduce the risk of children contracting flu.
Other health benefits conferred on the body by vitamin D includes the boost it offers to the immune system and also it encourage the proper functioning of the brain as well as the central nervous system. It is also indicted in the improvement of cardiovascular health as well as a maintaining the health of the liver.
Vitamin D Deficiency
The most popular manifestation of vitamin D deficiency is Rickets in children while adults often experience osteomalaicia. Other manifestation of this deficiency could include increased risk of fatality due to cardiovascular diseases, impartment of the cognitive function in elderly persons, severe ceased of asthma in children and then cancer. These usually occur when exposure to sunlight is minimal and the vitamin D intake falls below the recommended amount. It could also be as a result of obesity or other certain medical issues with the digestive and excretory systems.
Like other vitamins or dietary supplements, vitamin D could have possible interactions or interferences with some certain medications. Some of substances which could become harmful when taken alongside with vitamin D include phenolbarbital, phenytoin, predbisone and other corticosteroids usually used as a weight loss drug.
Vitamin D an important vitamin, regardless of the conversions, it undergoes before it is utilized in the body, regardless of the fact that it is needed in very minute concentration, it is still a very indispensable protein.