Vitamin D - Action, Deficiency, Occurrence

Vitamin D - Action, Deficiency, Occurrence

Vitamin D is an extremely important macronutrient in our body because it regulates the calcium-phosphate balance. In addition, it allows for the absorption of these elements in our intestines and is responsible for proper bone mineralisation. For this reason this vitamin should be present in our organism in an amount which is neither too little nor too much, and we should know that it is not easy to maintain its proper level. However, it is worth trying, because it is associated with a whole bunch of benefits.

The right amount of vitamin D is responsible for the proper condition of bones, that they are strong and teeth are healthy. In addition, it ensures an efficient cardiovascular system, reduces the risk of cancer, and helps to maintain a slim figure. However, it is important to realise that both an excess and a deficiency of this vitamin can sometimes be tragic in its consequences, so it is always advisable to consult a doctor in the case of special supplementation.

Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D, or rather its correct amount, is extremely important for every organism, therefore it is worth knowing what a deficiency of this substance is connected with. Typical symptoms for the lack of this macronutrient are first of all:

  • bone and muscle pains,
  • diarrhoea,
  • visual disturbances and deterioration of sight,
  • insomnia,
  • tastelessness and a burning sensation in the throat and mouth,
  • loss of appetite,
  • periodontal disease;

Adequate intake of this substance is particularly important for the development and functioning of the organism in infants, because in the case of deficiency they develop a head that is too flat at the back as a result of softening of the bones of the skull, and on the forehead there is a risk of protuberant tumours appearing. The deficiency is also responsible for the delayed fusion of the fontanel.

In young children insufficient vitamin D can result in the development of rickets, while in adults it is a frequent cause of osteoporosis and bone softening. The lack of vitamin D increases the risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and conditions. In extreme cases it can even result in cancer.

Vitamin D intake norm

Laboratory tests make it possible to check the level of vitamin D in the body by checking the serum concentration of the stable metabolite of this vitamin, namely 25(OH)D. For Central Europe, the norms are at the following levels:

  • 0-50 nmol/l or 0-20 ng/ml indicates vitamin D deficiency,
  • 50-75 nmol/l or 20-30 ng/ml indicate insufficient levels,
  • 75-125 nmol/l or 30-50 ng/ml is an optimal concentration,
  • 125-250 nmol/l or 50-100 ng/ml is a high concentration,
  • greater than 250 nmol/l or greater than 100 ng/ml is a potentially toxic concentration.

On the basis of such test results, the vitamin supply should be determined individually for each person. However, the most commonly recommended dosage of vitamin D is 400 IU per day in children and 10000 IU per day in adults.

Which vitamin D is best for children?

Since vitamin D occurs naturally mainly in fatty fish, egg yolks, butter and full-fat dairy products, it is impossible to provide children with adequate amounts of vitamin D from food alone. Supplementation is therefore necessary if we want to protect the young person from postural defects, weakening of bones and teeth, or deterioration of resistance to infections. In the case of children, the most important thing is the amount of vitamin D and the form in which it is administered. Healthy infants until the age of 6 months should take it in the amount of 400 IU daily, premature babies from 400 to 800 IU. After the first year of life the dose increases to about 600 - 1000 IU, but in the case of toddlers with overweight even 2000 IU may be needed. In turn, the most convenient forms of vitamin D, which ensure that the child receives the appropriate amount of the product, are mainly twist-off capsules and packaging with a pump.

Occurrence of vitamin D

Because the benefits of taking the right amount of vitamin D are many, it is important to know where to find it. It has many important functions in our bodies, although we need to be very careful not to overdose it. To do this, it is worth consulting a specialist, which may be a doctor or pharmacist. However, when it comes to foods in which we can find vitamin D in quite significant amounts, these are yeast, liver, egg yolks, but also fish products and fish oils. Undoubtedly everyone will find among these products something suitable for their taste and conviction, and therefore will be able to provide an adequate amount of this substance, or rather macroelement, which is so important for our health.

Few people know this, but vitamin D is produced when we spend long enough in the sun. Even a twenty-minute walk in the sun is enough to produce the necessary amount of vitamin D for our body to function efficiently and healthily. Of course, it should come as no surprise that this accelerates the ageing process. Weakening of muscle strength and painful cramps or problems with walking are also typical symptoms of deficiency. If the vitamin is lacking during fetal life, there is a risk of schizophrenia or even autism.

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