Vitamin D, also known as sunshine vitamin, is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins (that include vitamin A, D, K and E). Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining proper level of phosphorus and calcium in the blood and keeping the bones and muscles healthy and strong because it helps the body with calcium absorption. Initially vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets in children and osteomalacia in elderly. But recent research have explored that vitamin D plays a multifaceted role in functioning of the human body and protecting the body against host of illnesses. Vitamin D is produced by the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight. It can also be obtained from few natural sources of foods like fish, egg yolks, cod liver oil, grain products and fortified dairy products.With more than 1 billion people all over the world having low level of vitamin D, vitamin D deficiency has become a serious concern for medical fraternity. Low level of vitamin can cause variety of disease like osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and various forms of cancer and autoimmune disease. Here are 10 most significant health risks one can face due to low level of vitamin D.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption from food you eat in the intestine and helps maintain blood calcium level. So when you are deficient in vitamin D, it is obvious that you will be deficient in calcium. The strength of your bone basically depends upon how much calcium, phosphorus and other minerals you are getting. So when you are deficient in Vitamin D, your bones can become thin, brittle or malformed. Low level of vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness, joint pain, fracture, osteoporosis and rickets in children.
There is a sharp rise in number of diabetic people these days. Vitamin D is required to stabilize blood sugar levels and regulating secretion of insulin. Research shows that low level of vitamin D can increase the risk of type 2 and type 1 diabetes as well.
Research based on large scale observations reveals that having low level of vitamin D increases the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease like stroke, heart failure or coronary artery disease. The anti-inflammatory effect of D vitamin could be the reason. However, further research is being done to determine the exact cause of this and how it works.
If you are suffering from recurrent respiratory infection or cold, vitamin D deficiency could be the possible cause. Vitamin D plays an important role in activating the cells of your immune system which fights infection. Observational studies showed that low vitamin D level increases the risk of both lower and upper respiratory tract infection.
Optimal level of Vitamin D can significantly lower the risk of certain cancers like breast cancer, colon and prostate cancer. There are number of evidences that support the role of vitamin D in reducing cancer growth and suggest that increased level of vitamin D can help in cancer treatment.
You suffer from anemia when your body has insufficient levels of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to different body parts. It has been observed that people having low level of hemoglobin are also deficient in vitamin D. So the main underlying reason for anemia could be deficiency of vitamin D.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Vitamin D plays crucial role in numerous brain processes. Vitamin D helps to increase the serotonin level, mood regulating hormones and enzymes that set your mood. Low level of vitamin D decreases the neurotransmitters and delays the functioning of mood boosting hormones, which can lead to mood disorder or depression. Taking vitamin D supplements or exposing your skin to sunlight in the morning may help to pep up your mood.
Extensive studies have revealed that low level of vitamin D can cause low back pain and pain in other parts of the body. Increasing the level of vitamin D can help you get relief from chronic pain.
Vitamin D plays an important role in building and maintaining healthy tissues and regulating your immune system. Vitamin D deficiency can decrease and leave your body susceptible to certain autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis etc.
Aging is a natural process; your bone mass declines gradually as you age. But when you are deficient in vitamin D, your body will start aging prematurely, due to reduced bone mass.
Sunlight is the best source for receiving vitamin D. Expose yourself to morning sunlight daily. Besides this, you can also get vitamin D from several food sources like mushroom, beef, liver, fatty fishes like sardine, tuna and mackerel. Some vitamin D fortified foods are milk, cereals, orange juice etc. If you are experiencing any symptoms that pinpoint towards low vitamin D level, get a blood test done to check the level of vitamin D. Increasing the level of vitamin D can help you avoid many health issues associated with insufficient level of vitamin C.