What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is very important vitamin. It is not only necessary for musculosketal system of our body but it also regulate several other systems in our body. Vitamin D act as hormone in our body  and every cells has receptor for vitamin D.

How our body can maintain vit d level normal ?

Vitamin D is produced by skin exposed to ultraviolet B radiation or obtained from dietary sources, including supplements. Vitamin D consists of 2 forms. 

Vitamin D2 (D2), also known as ergocalciferol, is obtained from dietary vegetable sources and oral supplements. 

Vitamin D3 (D3), also known as cholecalciferol, is obtained primarily from skin exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation in sunlight, ingestion of food sources such as oily fish and variably fortified foods (milk, juices, margarines, yogurts, cereals, and soy), and oral supplements.

Both of these form are biologically inert and our liver and kidney will make them active form known as calcitriol.

I am living in sunlight whole day then what is the resion for vitamin D deficiency for me?

There are many variables influence the amount of UVB from sunlight that reaches the skin and its effectiveness. These include time of day, season, latitude, altitude, clothing, sunscreen use, pigmentation, and age. So it is not necessary that people who spend whole day in sunlight is sufficient in vitamin D.

Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency?

Common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:

  • Having dark skin.
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Elderly.
  • Overweight or obese.
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Not eating much fish or dairy (Less dietary intake)
  • Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round.
  • Always using sunscreen when going out.
  • Staying indoors.

What are symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

Most people don’t realize that they’re deficient, as symptoms are generally subtle. You may not recognize them easily, even if they’re having a significant negative effect on your quality of life.

  1. Low blood levels of vitamin D may be a cause of bone pain and lower back pain due to increase bone loss. 
  2. Excessive fatigue and tiredness may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency and It may increase risk of falling.
  3. Depression is associated with low vitamin D level.
  4. Inadequate vitamin D levels may lead to poor wound healing following surgery, injury or infection.
  5. Vitamin D deficiency leads to increase bone loss, osteomalacia, osteoporosis. So fragility fracture can occur due to it deficiency.
  6. Hair loss may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
  7. There is a link between chronic pain and low blood levels of vitamin D, because vitamin D is necessary for optimal function of nerve tissue.
  8. Vitamin D plays important roles in immune function. One of the most common symptoms of deficiency is an increased risk of illness or infections.
  9. Vitamin D deficiency also associated with increase risk of some autoimmune disease like Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple sclerosis.
  10. Vitamin D deficiency also associated with increase in BP, heart failure or stroke.

These are various symptoms of vitamin D deficiency and you may have either one or more symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. But most of persons don’t have any symptoms of deficiency.

I have bone and joint pain should I go for vitamin D test?

Although vitamin D deficiency is prevalent, measurement of serum 25(OH)D levels is expensive, and screening for all people is not supported. However, vitamin D testing may benefit those who have risk for severe deficiency or those with laboratory or radiographic findings commonly associated with vitamin D deficiency.

It has been suggested that clinicians should routinely test for vitamin D level in patients with musculoskeletal symptoms, such as bone pain, myalgia, and generalized weakness, because these symptoms are often associated with vitamin D deficiency and might be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, age-related weakness, or even depression.

Alternatively, empiric vitamin D supplementation without testing can be justified for patients who have no clear risk factors or evidence of deficiency but are thought to have inadequate sun exposure or dietary intake.

I have normal blood level of calcium and phosphorus, can I have vitamin D deficiency

Yes you may have normal level of serum calcium and phosphorus in case of vitamin D deficiency. vitamin D deficiency is usually accompanied by normal blood levels for calcium and phosphorus due to secondary elevated levels of PTH (parathyroid hormone). Thus this PTH maintain your normal blood level of calcium and phosphorus.

What is treatment of vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D supplementation is safe and inexpensive treatment of vitamin D deficiency, but vitamin D deficiency often remains undiagnosed or is under-treated

The amount of vitamin D that is needed to correct a deficiency will depend on the severity of the deficiency and your individual medical conditions.

Many peoples think that adequate vitamin D intake can be obtained via diet alone. This assumption is erroneous. With the exception of fatty fish, the vitamin D content of most foods, including fortified dairy products, is relatively low to nonexistent of vitamin D.

Vitamin D supplements should be taken with a meal that contains fat. There are supplements can be taken on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

What are the food that high in vitamin D

  • Fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel or tuna
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified milk or yogurt or cheese
  • Orange juice fortified
  • Fortified cereals
  • Infant formulas