Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency, Signs of Low Vitamin D

Vitamin D Deficiency.

Vitamin D plays many important roles in the body. Primarily produced under the effect of sunlight, vitamin D provides many health benefits, from bone strength and muscle maintenance to strengthening the immune system. Moderate daily exposure to the sun, as well as a varied and balanced diet, are necessary to avoid vitamin D deficiency. Its symptoms can then have various consequences on the body.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can either be provided by food, or be synthesized in the human body under the action of UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays during exposure to the sun.
There are two types of vitamin D found in food:

  • Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol): which comes from foods of plant origin
  • Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol): which comes from foods of animal origin or is synthesized in the skin by the action of ultraviolet light on cholesterol following exposure to the sun

The body can also get vitamin D from supplements that are absorbed through the intestine. Vitamin D plays a major role in the assimilation and fixation of calcium and phosphorus in the bones, ensuring the strength of the skeleton. It helps the body’s immune system to fight viruses and bacteria (in case of cold, allergy, illness…). It is also involved in hormonal regulation. It preserves the brain from premature decline in cognitive and intellectual functions and certain mental illnesses. Finally, it helps to fight against the development of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Sources of Vitamin D.

There are several ways to meet daily vitamin D needs:

  • Exposure to the sun: by exposing yourself to the sun for 15 to 20 minutes in the late morning or afternoon, you can ensure that your body has a sufficient daily intake of vitamin D. However, in winter, or in certain regions with little sunshine, it is highly possible to have insufficient levels of this vital vitamin.
  • Food supplements: vitamin D can also be ingested through medicine and food supplements of different concentrations and compositions.
  • Eating foods rich in vitamin D, such as:
    • Dark chocolate
    • Egg yolk
    • Oily fish, such as herring, sardines, salmon and mackerel
    • Certain mushrooms, such as chanterelles, ceps and morels
    • Dairy products fortified with vitamin D
    • Butter and margarines
    • Breakfast cereals fortified with vitamin D
    • Offal/Variety meats (especially liver)
    • Red meat

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