Vitamin D, also called the “sunshine vitamin”, is naturally produced in your body with mild sun exposure or can be consumed through certain foods and supplements. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3.
Vitamin D has multiple roles in your body. Perhaps, the most vital are maintaining the health of your bones and teeth, supporting the health of your immune system, brain, and nervous system, regulating insulin levels, supporting lung function and cardiovascular health, as well as influencing the expression of genes responsible for cancer development. It’s very important that you get sufficient amount of vitamin D for normal growth and development of your body.
Vitamin D regulates normal functioning of genes and processes that your body needs to maintain health. It is sent to different parts of the body. Immune cells (B cells, T cells, and antigen-presenting cells) have vitamin D receptors on them and are capable of synthesising the active vitamin D. When there is a deficiency of vitamin D in your body, there are increased chances of autoimmune disorders and increased susceptibility to infection. Optimising the vitamin D levels in your body may help you prevent infections, autoimmune diseases, and more.
Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in your body. Inadequate vitamin D levels in the blood may lead to severe bone and back pain. As your bones weaken, you are more susceptible to stress fractures, especially, in your legs, pelvis, and hips. Deficiency of vitamin D also leads to increased tiredness, a feeling of overall pain, and a sense of not feeling well. You may also experience severe muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or an abnormal gait. In 30% of people, muscle weakness is one of the earliest signs of vitamin D deficiency. At this stage, the condition is reversible and can be easily treated with vitamin D and calcium supplementation.
A study has shown that the lack of vitamin D can lead to depression and anxiety. Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating your mood and warding off depression. Vitamin D supplements are known to improve depression symptoms in many. Vitamin D is important for a normal brain function, and helps treat depression and other mental illnesses. Hence, vitamin D deficiency is responsible for depression in some people. Always talk to your doctor if you think you have depression and find the right treatment.
Of all vitamin D deficiency symptoms, there is one that stands out to be weird. In older times, doctors apparently used to ask new mothers if their heads were sweatier than normal. This was done to check for a lurking vitamin D deficiency. Does your child have sweaty hands? This is possibly a sign of the most prominent and dangerous form of vitamin D deficiency in children – Rickets. Found mostly in children who are vitamin D deficient, the symptoms of sub-clinical rickets include head sweating, hair tenderness, and legs giving out.
Vitamin D controls genes that promote the creation of antimicrobial compounds. These compounds are used by the immune system to fight off wound infections. When you have a vitamin D deficiency, your immune function can get compromised, making you more susceptible to potentially harmful bacteria and other foreign invaders.
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