Vitamin D deficiency is becoming increasingly commonplace, despite vitamin D being added to the milk we buy at the grocery store. How do you ensure that you are getting an adequate supply of vitamin D? In addition to supplements and diet, another nutrient is also critical to address.
Vitamin D performs many functions in the body. For example, it can enhance the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorus, as well as regulate the genetic performance of nerve cell proteins and help maintain the health of brain cells. Vitamin D also promotes normal immune system functions, fights inflammation, and improves the body’s ability to fight bacteria and viruses.
Many studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, dementia, cancer, depression, and type 2 diabetes. A significant vitamin D deficiency may also have the following results:
- Inhibited development and growth: insufficient intake of vitamin D will affect the development of bones, making children grow relatively slowly.
- Brittle bones and weak joints: a vitamin D deficiency makes it difficult for the body to absorb calcium. The result can be osteoporosis, a tendency to fracture bones easily, bone pains resulting from bone softening, joint inflammation, and weak teeth, among others.
- Depression: vitamin D has been shown to be a key regulator of serotonin synthesis in the brain, and low levels of serotonin can cause depression.
- Fatigue: defects in serotonin function may also be related to fatigue. Some studies have also found that people with low levels of vitamin D3 in their body are prone to depression and/or fatigue.
- Muscle pain: vitamin D is also needed for the normal development and growth of muscle fibers, and a lack of vitamin D may lead to muscle weakness and muscle pain.
- Cramps: a lack of vitamin D affects the absorption of calcium, resulting in hypocalcemia, which may lead to involuntary muscle contractions, thus resulting in cramps.
- Migraines: people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood have a higher chance of getting migraines.
- Common colds: vitamin D is very important for the maintenance of immunity. If you often catch colds, it may be due to a lack of vitamin D in your body, which weakens the immune system and the body’s antiviral ability.
How our body processes vitamin D
The vitamin D that we get from food, supplements, and sunlight is in a non-activated state. The liver and kidneys must metabolize it to produce the active, biologically available vitamin D3, also known as calcitriol. People with poor kidney and liver functions are prone to vitamin D deficiency.
In addition, people who have difficulty digesting and absorbing fatty foods may also have a vitamin D deficiency because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin.
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