Vitamin D: All you wanted to know about it. Are you deficient in it? What is the test like?
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is vital for strong bones. It also has important, emerging roles in immune function and cancer prevention. Deficiencies at any stage of life can have devastating consequences. Similarly, vitamin D toxicity resulting from overmedication can cause serious hypercalcemia. Vitamin D consists of 2 bioequivalent forms:
- Vitamin D2: obtained from vegetable sources (dietary sources, supplements);
- Vitamin D3: derived from both endogenous (synthesized from cholesterol through sun exposure) and exogenous (animal diet) sources.
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Sources of Vitamin D
How is Vitamin D Synthesized ?
Deficiency of Vitamin D
Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet, even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:
- Increased risk of death fromcardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment in older adults
Causes of Vitamin Deficiency:-
If you are a pure vegetarian, then you are likely to suffer from vitamin d deficiency since most of the natural sources are animal based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheeze, fortified milk.
If your exposure to sunlight is limited then your body makes less vitamin D.
If your Kidneys cannot convert Vitamin D to its active form then you will be Vitamin D deficient.
As people age, their kidneys are able to convert less vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.
If your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D.
Certain medical problems, including Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can affect your intestine’s ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat.
Hypervitaminosis D :- Hypervitaminosis means excessive intake of vitamin D
Symptoms of Hypervitaminosis D:-
Excessive amounts of vitamin D in the body can cause calcium levels in the blood to rise. This can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood), which can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- excessive thirst
- excessive urination
- irritability, nervousness
- ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
- muscle weakness
- nausea, vomiting
- confusion, disorientation
- high blood pressure
- heart arrhythmias
- Longer-term complications of untreated hypervitaminosis D include:
- kidney stones
- kidney damage
- kidney failure
- excess bone loss
- calcification (hardening) or arteries and soft tissues
- increase blood calcium which can cause abnormal heart rhythms
Causes of Hypervitaminosis:-
It is unlikely that you would take in too much vitamin D from the foods you eat or from exposure to the sun. In most cases, this condition is caused by taking more than the recommended daily value of vitamin D supplements.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, then please consult your doctor and get yourself tested for Vitamin D.
In short, Vitamin D test will help you to determine & monitor
- If bone weakness, bone malformation, or abnormal metabolism of calcium (reflected by abnormalcalcium, phosphorus, PTH) is occurring as a result of a deficiency or excess of vitamin D
- People who are at high risk of deficiency, as recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the Institute of Medicine, and the Endocrine Society
- The effectiveness of treatment when vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and/or magnesium supplementation is prescribed.