Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients required by the body. It is made when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is best known for supporting calcium metabolism. It helps the body to absorb calcium from food and supplements to support the maintenance of healthy bones cells. Vitamin D deficiency is also known as Hypovitaminosis D. It is a very common condition in the society. Many people are suffering from vitamin D deficiency problem. Sunlight is the abundant source of natural vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency mainly occurs due to the inadequate sunlight exposure.
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Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
- Insufficient Sunlight Exposure
People spending less time or remaining inside the home for a long time are unable to get enough sunlight as sunlight is the best source of vitamin D.
- High Pollution
Pollution absorbs some of the sun’s rays thus reducing scope to make vitamin D.
- Darker Skin
People with darker skin need more sunlight exposure to absorb enough vitamin D. The pigment melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure.
- Not Enough Consumption of Vitamin D
People who follow strict vegan diet are having vitamin D efficiency. Eating foods rich in vitamin D reduces the risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Overweight people are having vitamin D efficiency because excess body fat affects vitamin D absorption.
- Pregnancy or Breast Feeding
The nutritional demands of an infant or fetus can lower vitamin D levels, particularly in women already at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Brittle bones, osteoporosis or frequent bone fractures
- Muscle weakness
- Changes in mood such as depression or anxiety
- Chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- Exhaustion even with enough sleep
- Decreased endurance
- Unexplained infertility
Diagnosis of Vitamin D Deficiency
Blood test is the most accurate test in the diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency. A level of 20 ng/mL to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency.
Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency
There are three methods for increasing vitamin D levels:
- Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D supplement is readily available. Doctor prescribes vitamin D supplement to increase the level of vitamin D.
- Foods Rich in Vitamin D
Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel as well as fish liver oil are excellent natural sources of vitamin D. Cheese, milk and egg yolks contain small quantities of vitamin D.
- Exposure to Natural Sunlight
Sunlight is the best source of natural vitamin D. People should go outside especially in the morning for getting enough sunrays. People can also perform jogging, walking and exercises outside in the morning to get maximum sunrays. The morning sunlight is softer for the skin and don’t cause any skin problems.
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