Vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis and rickets.
Vitamin D can be obtained in two ways:
- By exposure to sunlight (UV).
- By eating foods rich in this vitamin, such as milk and eggs.
Exposure to the sun's rays promotes the production of vitamin D.
One of the main functions of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium, one of the essential minerals for normal bone formation. In childhood it is used to produce and maintain the skeletal system.
Vitamin D also plays an indispensable role in the maintenance of the organs. Some of the functions in which it intervenes are:
- Regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood.
- It promotes the intestinal absorption of phosphorus and calcium from food and the reabsorption of calcium at the renal level.
- Participates in skeletal development by contributing to bone formation and mineralization.
- It intervenes in the processes of the immune system.
- It could have antitumor properties.
- Anti-aging functions.
There are situations in which not enough calcium is acquired through the diet, leading to a deficiency of Vitamin D. The consequences of this is that it increases the risk of developing rickets , in the case of children, and osteoporosis , hypocalcemia (low concentrations of calcium in the blood) and osteomalacia (pathology that weakens the bones), in the case of adults.
In addition, the deficiency could also be linked to decreased cognitive function and the appearance of chronic diseases, the most frequent being breast, colon, prostate and ovarian cancer, chronic fatigue, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, heart disease, diseases immunological or mental, such as depression and seasonal affective disorders, among others.
Finally, vitamin D deficiency can cause impaired muscle function and misdiagnosis of pathologies such as fibromyalgia.
"In our environment , deficiency of this vitamin is very common , which is involved in bone metabolism, but is also associated with other tissues and systems," explains Professor Victoria Arija, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at Rovira University. and Virgili, from Tarragona. "A deficient intake of Vitamin D through diet or due to low sun exposure is related to cancer , cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases , diabetes and depression," Arija emphasizes.
Vitamin D deficiency is easily treatable by taking supplements. Scientific evidence has shown that the supplementation of this vitamin helps prevent falls in the elderly.
The main people at risk of deficiency are:
Over 50 years . The ability to convert nutrients into vitamin D decreases with age. The kidneys, for example, are one of those responsible for conversion and after that age they do not work as well as those of younger people.
Individuals who are obese may have less circulation of this vitamin.
Excess Vitamin D
Excess vitamin D in the body can also have negative health consequences. Too much can cause the intestine to absorb calcium that is not needed, which can cause high levels of this mineral in the blood and favor the following situations:
- Deposits of this mineral in soft tissues such as tendons, heart and lungs.
- Increased likelihood that the person will experience episodes of confusion and disorientation.
- Possibility of developing kidney damage.
- Increased chance of kidney stones.
It could be related to the appearance of gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting or constipation.
It is believed that it can cause loss of appetite and involuntary weight loss.
Sources of Vitamin D
The body produces vitamin D with direct exposure to the sun (it is not obtained indoors through windows). With exposure for 10 or 15 minutes three times a week, the body's needs for this vitamin are usually covered. However, if people do not live in very sunny places they will have to resort to diet and supplements.
The main food sources where it can be found are:
- Fatty fish: they are the best option. Tuna, mackerel, and salmon contain large amounts of vitamin D.
- Fish liver oils, milk, eggs and butter.
Many foods are fortified with vitamins, such as cereals that are usually consumed for breakfast, orange juice or yogurt.