Vitamin D Deficiency
For the normal and healthy functioning of our body, Vitamin D plays a vital role. The body can produce vitamin D from cholesterol when the skin is exposed to sunlight or it can be absorbed from certain foods that we consume – dairy, fish, egg yolk being the primary ones. Every cell in the human body has a vitamin D receptor and it often functions as a hormone – effecting several vital systems in the body. Staying away from sunlight due to occupational or other health factors, having a strict vegan diet or allergies to dairy products can result in vitamin D deficiency.
The common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include – frequent bouts of ill-health, excessive fatigue and tiredness, weakness of the bones and persistent back pain, depression and erratic mood swings, longer healing time for wounds, hair loss and excessive muscle pain.
The body can exhibit some or all of these symptoms when an individual is suffering from excessive vitamin D deficiency. It is vital to detect these symptoms and take corrective measures to restore vitamin D balance in the body.
Although, all segments of the population are equally at the risk of developing vitamin D deficiency, certain sections are at a higher risk. People with comparatively darker skin have been known to develop this deficiency at a higher rate. Also, increasing age, excessive indoor hours, obesity and sedentary lifestyle, limited exposure to sun, excessive use of sunscreen are some of the other factors that increase the risk of lower vitamin D levels in the body.
The fact that there is a huge population that is deficient in vitamin D and unaware of the condition, underlines the lack of awareness about vitamin D. However, the fix for vitamin D deficiency is a rather simple one – increasing exposure to sunlight and/or increasing consumption of vitamin D rich food can replenish the required levels of vitamin D for the body.
One of the reasons for the lack of awareness of vitamin D deficiency is the lack of awareness of its importance. The vitamin is vital for several functions in the body which includes – the cardiovascular system, cognitive abilities in adults, and for strong and healthy bones. The vitamin helps absorb calcium which is then used by the body to build and make the bones stronger. Deficiency in vitamin D directly impacts the bone density and bone health of an individual.
Additionally, the vitamin also blocks the release of the parathyroid hormone which eats away the bone tissue making them weaker and susceptible to breaking. Shortage of vitamin D is also likely to result in kidney and liver-related complications, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and others.
As discussed above, it is important to identify the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency and undergo tests to conclusively determine the same. The patient must understand the exact causes of the deficiency and work towards restoring the balance of vitamin in the body. Medical help must be sought to take appropriate measures against vitamin D deficiency and to guard against the possible side-effects of the deficiency.