The role of vitamins for the health of people cannot be overestimated. Our bodies require vitamins in small amounts; however, in case of deficiency in the intake, proper development of the body is impossible. Vitamins treat or just prevent numerous diseases and disorders. Some of them facilitate functioning of the organism and performing undependable metabolic and physiological functions.
Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that ensure that the human body can grow and develop adequately. It is the only vitamin which can be produced in the body in response to sunlight; so it is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Physicians recommend getting regular exposure to the sunlight, however avoiding burning. The quantity of vitamin a person gets depends on the time of day, color of skin and age. Vitamin D is produced more actively at sunrise and sunset, especially if the skin is fair and the person is young. Sunlight can restore the adequate level of vitamin D in the body very quickly if there has been no sun exposure for a long time. Almost fifty days of no sun can be made up with just six days of usual sunlight. Besides, body fat is capable of storing vitamin D and releasing it when there is no sunlight.
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The sun is not the only source of vitamin D. It can also come from dairy products, cheese, egg yolks, beef liver, sea food, and some kinds of fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. Potatoes, parsley, oat and some herbs also contain vitamin D. However, the food of plant origin does not contain sufficient quantity of it; that is why vegetarians should consider including at least some ingredients of animal origin in their diet. Nowadays, a lot of breakfast cereals, some kinds of yogurt, soy drinks, and juices may contain vitamin D and you can see a notice that they are “fortified with vitamin D”.
The vitamin D deficiency always has negative consequences. Softening of the bones, bone pain and fractures are its typical symptoms alongside with the muscle ache, lowered immunity, cognitive problems of elderly people, stunted growth of children, fat accumulation, asthma and even depression.
To have a strong skeleton, the body has to absorb calcium. Vitamin D is essential in maintaining bone density and preventing rickets which may result in weak bones, cramps or spasms of the feet or hands. If calcium absorption is reduced as a result of vitamin D insufficiency, it may lead to difficulties in exercising and walking, hip fractures or osteoporosis.
However, the benefits of vitamin D are much more numerous that just making the bones stronger. The function of about 200 genes depends on the availability of this vitamin in the organism. In case the vitamin D level is low, it can cause high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, various heart diseases or even the risk of a stroke.
Vitamin D stimulates cell differentiation and even identifies cancerous cells and induces apoptosis. Thus, lack of this vitamin is associated with various types of cancer. Besides, there are numerous researches that proved the crucial role of vitamin D as an immune system modulator. Those people who have an extremely low level of vitamin D in their bodies are even likely to get Parkinson's.
Some categories of people may suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Human milk does not contain sufficient amount of this vitamin; that is why breastfed infants may not get enough of it. Body fat can bind to vitamin D and it does not get into the blood of obese people. Dark skin produces less vitamin D from the sun. There are also certain diseases and disorders that prevent converting vitamin D into its active type.
The amount of vitamin D may be too high in the blood of a person. Then this essential protector turns into a harmful factor that may result in poor appetite, weakness, weight loss, vomiting, nausea or constipation. Redundant vitamin D can have the detrimental effect on kidneys and heart. It may raise the level of calcium in blood excessively and then it leads to disorientation and confusion. The body always limits the amounts of vitamin D out of the sun exposure which cannot be excessive or poisoning. All those negative consequences are mostly caused by overuse of supplementary vitamin D.
To sum up, the adequate level of vitamin D in the blood has numerous benefits. It helps to prevent various kinds of diabetes, heart attacks and failures, strokes, high blood pressure and cancer. It optimizes metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Thus, muscle weakness and falls are prevented. Vitamin D level is essential in maintaining bone integrity and preventing osteoporosis. It facilitates regulation of muscle function, blood pressure, insulin activity and blood sugar balance. It also lowers the risk of bacterial infections and excessive inflammation. People of different ages can prevent chronic fatigue and support mood stability if the level of vitamin D is normal.
Common lifestyle has changed over the last several centuries. People mostly work indoors and eat more and more junk food. If the sunlight exposure is insufficient for some reasons or the person does not get enough of it from the food he or she eats, it is highly recommended to obtain vitamin D from supplements. Extra supplements are also required for elderly people or those with the dark skin, if they care about their health. If one wants to have strong bones, boost the immunity, fight depression easily or even have a balanced weight, one has to find another practical way to ensure proper level of this indispensable protector in one's bloodstream.
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