Vitamin D – what is it?
Vitamin D is often called ‘the sunshine vitamin’, and it’s true, too.
Vitamin D is produced when ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight strikes the skin and triggers vitamin D production. This vitamin D is still biologically inert and must undergo modification for activation. The first. Sidebar: Vitamin D is a family of vitamins that differ in small ways but, and this is important, are comparable in effect after processing by our bodies. Severe vitamin D deficiencies cause a condition called ‘rickets’, something hardly seen anymore thanks to supplementation. However, vitamin D inadequacy is very much ‘a thing’ and inadequacy may result in disease.
Am I at risk?
Possibly. Older people and people with darker skins are less able to produce vitamin D from sunlight. People who spend their time indoors, too, are at risk because the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight required to produce vitamin D in skin is filtered out by glass. Also, a diet poor in vitamin D may put you at risk of vitamin D inadequacy.
Ok, so what does vitamin D deficiency and inadequacy cause?
As mentioned previously in this article vitamin D deficiency can cause painful rickets in children, a condition where bones fail to become fully hard, resulting in skeletal deformities. Vitamin D deficiency may also result in developmental delay, seizures, muscle spasms, heart disease and dental abnormalities.
In adults and adolescents, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia, where bone is incompletely mineralised, resulting in weak bones, pain, and deformities.
Vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to respiratory diseases, like COVID-19. Several observational studies have suggested that the supplementation of vitamin D can reduce your chances of developing respiratory illness, especially in vitamin D deficient or inadequacy groups.
What can I do to fix the situation?
The good news here is that it is pretty easy to remedy vitamin D deficiency or inadequacy. The Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) for Vitamin D is 15 μg (microgram) per day, which is considered the minimum amount necessary to achieve and maintain optimum nutritional status and which will assist in prevention of disease. A quality supplement offering 15 μg (microgram) of vitamin D per day (100 % NRV) should be sufficient for people 4 years and older.
|Children (4 years and over) and adults|
|μg daily* |
*As cholecalciferol: 1 μg cholecalciferol is equivalent to 40 IU (International Units) of vitamin D
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