Vitamin D is the name given to a fat soluble vitamin, which is essential for the development of bones. The vitamin is not only found in food, but can also be produced in the body after it is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Though the vitamin in so easily available, there are many people who suffer from its deficiency. The main reasons for Vitamin D deficiency are imbalanced diet, insufficient exposure to sun and disorders in the body that either limit its absorption or adversely affect its conversion into active metabolites.
Diseases Resulting from Vitamin D Deficiency
Deficiency of Vitamin D in the body of an individual results in bone mineralization. Along with that, the deficiency has been associated with a number of bone diseases. The major ones are:
- Rickets - Rickets is a disease found in children who are suffering from Vitamin D deficiency. It is characterized by inhibited growth and defects in the long bones.
- Osteomalacia - Osteomalacia is a disease that occurs only in adults. It leads to proximal weakness of muscles and brittleness of bone.
- Osteoporosis - Osteoporosis is another disease that is caused by Vitamin D deficiency. It is also diagnosed in adults only and results in diminished bone mineral density and augmented bone frailty.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
The following symptoms are associated with Vitamin D deficiency in the body:
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Excessive fatigue
- Low energy levels
- Low immunity levels
- Mood swings
- Muscle pain
- Weak bones (which might result in fractures)
- Weight Loss
Vitamin D Deficiency Prevention and Treatment
Vitamin D deficiency can be prevented as well as treated by following the simple steps listed below.
- The first and foremost step to be taken for preventing as well as treating Vitamin D deficiency is to have unprotected sun exposure for sometime on a daily basis. The best time for soaking the sun rays is between 6 and 9 am.
- To avoid and treat Vitamin D deficiency, make sure that you eat a proper, balanced diet, rich in whole foods and complex carbohydrates.
- Try to supplement your Vitamin D intake with multivitamin tablets, especially the ones that also contain fish oil. Your supplements should contain a minimum of 200 IU of Vitamin D and not more than 1000 IU of Vitamin D.
Sources of Vitamin D
The following food items have been known to contain Vitamin D in large quantities.
- Cod Liver Oil
- Cooked Liver
- Dry Cereals
- Fortified Margarine
- Non-fat Milk