Vitamin D is known for the benefits of skeletal health and its role in calcium absorbance, But there are also many non-skeletal benefits which most people don't know about it. Many studies indicate direct and indirect effects on regulating hormones. If you struggle with problems such as fatigue, PMS, obesity, headache, and so many other hormonal imbalances, it can be a savior for you!
Believe it or not, there are many serious diseases which are related to the deficiency of some vitamins in the patients' diet, such as diabetes or cancers. There is mounting evidence that implicates vitamin D deficiency is linked to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
It also affects insulin release. So you can blame vitamin D deficiency for obesity and overweight with the cause of insulin resistance.
Vitamin D impacts many diseases
There are dozens of researches based on observational studies which show the effect of vitamin D on amelioration of autism, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, erectile dysfunction, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, respiratory tract infections, and pregnancy and birth outcomes.
To mention other benefits of vitamin d3 for men and women can refer to preventing cancers type of breast, prostate, ovarian and Alzheimer disease and digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Vitamin D makes you happy!
When the sunlight hits your skin, it increases the level of one of your happy chemicals in your brain named serotonin. Scientifically, your body makes vitamin D when the sun's ultraviolet B rays hit your skin, which is directly related to serotonin in the brain.
Everything about your mood, emotions, memory, self-esteem, pain tolerance, sleep habits, appetite, digestion, and body temperature regulation can be related to serotonin. When you feel sad you have more appetite to sugar to stimulate serotonin production. Also when we are cold or away from sunshine, our serotonin level drops.
For adequate serotonin production, you must get plenty of sunlight or daily vitamin D supplementation, a rich protein diet, regular exercise, and good sleep.
Risks of deficiency
Studies show that Vitamin D deficiency has a direct effect on tooth decay on children and gum disease in the adult. It manages the immune system inside the tooth and also has a fundamental task in supplying our muscles, bones, and teeth from calcium. It helps the intestine to absorb calcium of what we eat.
When your body encounters with deficiency of vitamin D and calcium, forces your bones and teeth to release calcium by secretion a hormone, named parathyroid to use it for the muscles contraction.
Besides of its indirect effects on bad functionality of the body, its deficiency can lead to:
- Inadequate mineralization of the skeleton which leads to rickets (widening at the end of bones)
- High blood pressure
- Deformation of the skeleton
- Abnormalities in calcium and bone metabolism
- Increase in cancer risk
- Various intestinal malabsorption syndromes such as liver failure, Crohn's disease
- Inability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
The following people are exposed to vitamin D deficiency:
- People who have dark skin.
- Women wearing hijab
Although vitamin D deficiency threatens both women's and men's health, women are relatively more in the exposure of vitamin d deficiency. While studying the effects of low vitamin D in women in different countries, researches found out that it is more common among women who live in MENA countries such as Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kuwait. Deficiency of vitamin D in MENA countries is due to less exposure to the sun, wrapping babies for a long period, less intake of rich-vitamin D foods, they proposed.
In other countries also fear of wrinkles causes people to avoid sun exposure and using sunscreens.
- People with limited sun exposure, such as those living in northern latitude and homebound individuals or those who spend most of their time indoors.
- Infants, although it is rare, it can occur when an infant does not receive adequate vitamin D of sun exposure or foods, so he may need supplements.
- People with a strict vegan diet
- People who live in polluted air, polluted air avoid the sunlight to reach the skin
- Obesity, being overweight has a direct impact on vitamin D deficiency, body fats can prevent vitamin D absorption.
- People who have liver or kidney disease,
Once vitamin D produced from your food or in your skin, it converts to the active form in your liver and kidney. In people with kidney or liver disease, vitamin D cannot convert to the active form.
Vitamin D toxicity causes vomiting, nausea, poor appetite, weakness, heart rhythm abnormality, and constipation.
How to take vitamin D
In nature, vitamin D foods sources are very few. Foods such as:
- Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- Dairy products and cereals
- Fish liver oil
- Most of all human intake foods come from fortified foods such as fortified margarine and fortified milk
The absorption depends on your geographic location, the intensity of the sun's radiation and your skin color.
Through the window or smog, or if you wear sunscreen, your body cannot make vitamin D. Also, you absorb little through a cloud cover. And those with darker skin need more time to sun exposure. The requirement increases with the age because the ability of the body to convert it to its active form decreases. Infants may require less time to be exposed to the sun, because of their greater capacity to absorb and produce a sufficient amount of active vitamin D.
If you have stayed away from the sun exposure for a while, start with 5-10 minutes sunbathing on just your arms to build up some tolerance. Feel free to wear sunscreen or cover your face because of this small area prone to sun damage.
And also the source foods richness such as egg yolk or fishes depends on the time of the year that these productions are harvested.
Many recommendations have been issued regarding the daily token of vitamin D supplements.
Age group dosage
Doses for infants
Before taking any supplements to your baby, consider that it is best to consult a doctor.
Age 0 to 5 month
Although human milk has a low amount of vitamin D, breast or formula feed infants do not need to take the supplement. 30 minutes exposure of the face to the sun for a milk-fed infant is enough.
For the infants who are restricted to sun exposure to 100 IU is enough.
Age 7 to 12 months
Although it depends on the season, on average breast-feed infants need to 35 minutes exposure to the sun.
In case of the absence on sun exposure, 200 IU is sufficient.
Doses for children
Age 1 to 8 years old
Doses for children who can not be in the exposure of the sun:
1 through 3 years-5.0 μ g (200 IU)/day
4 through 8 years-5.0 μ g (200 IU)/day
Make sure, not take too many supplements. Don't exceed the recommended dosage (1000 to 4000 UI for adults) per day. Studies show that excessive amount of vitamin D can decrease vitamin K2 and because of this high blood calcium level. Consult with your doctor if any of the bellow symptoms happened:
- Frequent urination
- high blood calcium level
- Poor appetite
- Stomach Pain
Vitamin D has a crucial role in maintaining your health. The sun is the best source for it, but if you can not receive adequate sun exposure, you should intake vitamin D supplements daily.