Good health is a state of complete physical, mental and social health. To ensure good health, it is important to consume sufficient and healthy food, containing all vitamins and minerals. Deficiency of healthy food from the diet can result in weakness and complications in the body. This brings us to one very important nutrient our body needs for leading a healthy and normal life – Vitamin D.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D – also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is an extremely important vitamin that serves many important bodily functions, like absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and ensuring a healthy immune system. Some other major benefits of Vitamin D include:
- Giving strength to bones
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of strong bones is calcium. So what has Vitamin D got to do with the bone strength? Though Calcium is very important for healthy bones and bone mineral density; one must not ignore the importance of Vitamin D. Research has shown that Vitamin D is an important stimulator of calcium deposition in bones. If a person has Vitamin D deficiency, his/her body slows down and eventually stops depositing calcium in bones. This leads to calcium moving into the bloodstream from the bones. Over a period, this continuous cycle of calcium deposit and withdrawal makes bone weak and susceptible to injuries. If the body doesn’t get sufficient Vitamin D, there is a great risk of abnormalities like osteomalacia (soft bones) or osteoporosis (fragile bones).
- Protecting cardiovascular diseases
Apart from taking care of the bone strength, one of the most important functions of Vitamin D is to protect heart. A lot of studies have concluded that deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to high blood pressure, heart diseases, heart failures and cardiac arrest. Adequate intake of Vitamin D in the diet can help in lowering blood pressure, improving vascular compliances and improving glycemic control.
- Decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has become a very common disorder, owing to a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes can have long-term complications, which includes heart disease, damage to eyes and nerves, vision loss and kidney failure. Research has also shown that Vitamin D can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Reducing the risk of Cancer
One of the strongest inhibitors of cancer cell growth is Vitamin D. By increasing calcium absorption and cell differentiation and reducing metastasis, Vitamin D acts a solid obstructer of Cancer.
- Improving muscle function
Vitamin D deficiency is related to atrophy and muscle weakness. It is said that skipping Vitamin D from the diet is as bad as skipping out on leg day.
With such benefits from Vitamin D, it is important to have an adequate dosage of Vitamin D and go for regular Vitamin D test for the healthy functioning of your body.
Best source of Vitamin D
The good thing about Vitamin D is that the body can produce it. And the bad thing about Vitamin D is that the body can produce it only it is exposed to sunlight. Owing to this characteristic, Vitamin D is called the Sunshine Vitamin. All one needs for a sufficient intake of Vitamin D is some exposure to sunlight. Just 10-15 minutes in sunlight is sufficient for the skin to produce Vitamin D.
It is important to note that Vitamin D is not naturally available in a lot of food items. The following food items are good source of Vitamin D:
- Oily fish like salmon and trout
- Milk and dairy products like cheese, soy milk, tofu and curd
- Orange juice
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is an important vitamin needed for a lot of activities. Below mentioned are Vitamin D deficiency symptoms.
- Muscle weakness or spasm
Vitamin D enters the human body through muscle cells when in is metabolized, resulting in increased muscle contraction. This is important for a lot of things including preventing from falls. Muscle weakness starts slow and in a subtle way, especially in the initial phase. But it can have serious and damaging effects in the long run.
- Body pain
Insufficient amount of Vitamin D in the body can result in body pain. According to research, Vitamin D can reduce the risk of fibromyalgia – chronic condition of body-wide pain.
- Pain in muscle or bones
A lot of people who complain of pain in muscle or bone have Vitamin D deficiency which results in osteoporosis. The deficiency of Vitamin D results in inadequacy in putting calcium into the collagen matrix into the bone structure. This results in bone and muscle pain.
- Not able to climb stairs or getting up from the floor
Because of weak bone structure, people with Vitamin D deficiency find it cumbersome to climb stairs or get up from the floor, owing to pain in the bones and muscles.
- Stress fractures
People with Vitamin D deficiency can absorb only 10-15% of calcium from the diet and 50-60% of phosphorous from the diet. This results in a fall in bone mineralization with descend in the calcium levels. That is why most of the people who complain of stress fractures have insufficient Vitamin D levels.
Pain the muscles and bones results in overall fatigue and tiredness. If a person feel fatigued most of the times, he/she should immediately get Vitamin D test and take suitable action afterwards.
- High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a sign that the person is suffering from Vitamin D deficiency. Human body forms a peptide through a complicated enzymatic process. This peptide can increase blood pressure through artery constriction and retaining sodium and water.
- Feeling depressed
Exposure to sun has an impact on Serotonin – brain hormone associated with mood elevation. This hormone increases with exposure to sunlight and plummet when the exposure to sun decreases.
- Weight gain
It is important to know that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which implies that the fat in the body acts like a sink by collecting it. If a person is overweight or obese with high body mass index, he/she is likely to need a lot more Vitamin D as compared to a slimmer person.
- Head sweating
According to research, head sweating is a common symptom of Vitamin D deficiency. Head sweating in newborns is due to neuromuscular irritability.
- Gut trouble
Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it adversely affects ability to absorb fat in the person who has Vitamin D deficiency.
In case a person experiences any of these symptoms, it is advised that he/she should get Vitamin D test and if need be, take suitable Vitamin D deficiency treatment after consultation with the doctor.
Tests for Vitamin D Deficiency
Deficiency of Vitamin D is a highly common condition. It is observed that almost 30% to 50% of population suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. That brings us to a basic query – how does one know if he/she is suffering from Vitamin D deficiency? The answer to this query is very easy. If a person is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, he/she should immediately go for Vitamin D test. Having blood test to ascertain the levels through Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test is the only way one can find out if he/she has sufficient levels of the Vitamin.
Vitamin D is present in two forms in the blood – 25-hydroxyl D [25(OH) D] and [1,25 (OH) (2) D]. the first one, 25-hydroxyl D is the main form of the hormone available in the blood and is important for the bone health and growth. In its absence or shortcoming, the bones become fragile resulting in diseases like rickets. That apart, it also regulates calcium, phosphorous and magnesium absorption.
Vitamin D3 test checks the level of Vitamin D in the body. It is thus important to go for Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D in the body. It is noteworthy that no fasting is required before Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test.
How to interpret the results of Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test?
|0-40 ng/ml (0-100 nmol/l)||Deficient|
|40-80 ng/ml (100-200 nmol/l)||Sufficient|
|80-100 ng/ml (200-250 nmol/l)||High normal|
|>100 ng/ml (>250 nmol/l)||Undesirable|
|>150 ng/ml (>375 nmol/l)||Toxic|
(Source – https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/for-health-professionals-position-statement-on-supplementation-blood-levels-and-sun-exposure/)
What is the use of Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D test is used for the following purposes:
- If a person is experiencing done weakness, bone malformation or abnormal calcium metabolism, Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test can check the deficiency of the said vitamin.
- To diagnose issues related to parathyroid gland, Vitamin D test is essential.
- Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test can screen people who are at a risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
- Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test can monitor people who had a history of gastric bypass surgery and are thus not able to absorb sufficient Vitamin D.
- Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test can help in analyzing the health status of people who suffer from diseases that interfere with absorption of fat.
- Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test also monitor the impact of treatment where Vitamin D, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium is prescribed.
One can avail Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test from Dr Lal PathLabs. Thanks to Book-A-Test Home Collection Facility offered by Dr Lal PathLabs, Vitamin D test as well as Vitamin D3 test can be booked online as well with sample collection facility available from your doorsteps. It is advised that one should not take any chance with health and in case of any visible sign, should go for a Vitamin D test and Vitamin D3 test to prevent any further complication in the body.