Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight and it is also called ‘sunshine vitamin’. Egg yolk, fish, fish liver oil and fortified dairy products are some of the natural sources of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining bone health as it aids in the absorption of calcium from diet. Primarily, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to rickets, a disease leading to bone and skeletal deformities. Vitamin D also plays an important role in protection against various other health conditions including hypertension, glucose intolerance, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
- Pain in lower back and bones
- Slow healing of wounds
- Low bone mineral density
- Hair loss
- Muscular pain
Vitamin D deficiency may lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, cancer and asthma in children. Factors those may lead to vitamin D deficiency are:
- Limited exposure to sunlight
- Dark skin
- Strict vegetarian diet
- Kidneys’ inability to convert vitamin D to its active form
- Certain medical conditions related to digestive tract like cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease
Treatment And Diagnosis
The most accurate way to measure vitamin D deficiency in your body is to measure blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. A level of 20-50 ng/ml of vitamin D is considered adequate, whereas <12 ng/mL of vitamin D is indicative of its deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency can be treated by taking diet rich in vitamin D foods and supplements. The recommended dietary intake of vitamin D for normal adult per day is 600IU.