Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient which is very essential in maintaining healthy and strong bones. It performs this function by enhancing intestinal absorption of minerals like calcium and phosphate. This in turn, reduces the risk of bone fractures. Muscles or nerves that carry messages between the brain and the other parts of the body, do so because of Vitamin D. It regulates about 200 genes which include the brain, heart, kidney, bone, intestine, skin, gonads, prostate, breast and the immune system. Basically it helps the body perform three important functions:
Regulation of calcium uptake, transport and bone mineralisation
Control of cell proliferation and differentiation
Modulation of the immune system
Generally people should consume the right quantity of Vitamin D according to their age. Children between 1-13 years and teens should consume about 600 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D, adults after the age of 71 years and older should consume about 800 IU and pregnant women should consume about 600 IU of Vitamin D.
You can become deficient in Vitamin D, when you do not consume sufficient of Vitamin D through food, when you are not exposed to sunlight or have a limited exposure or when your kidneys do not convert Vitamin D to its active form. Deficiency of Vitamin D may lead to brittle bones, making it soft and easy to break.
Vitamin D is a sunshine nutrient. It is naturally found in sunlight. Also foods in which Vitamin D is naturally available are fatty fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver, cheese, egg yolk, mushrooms, milk, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, soy beverages, etc.
Vitamin D supplement should be consumed to improve the levels of calcium in the body. However, intake of Vitamin D supplements may lead to a risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or even hypertension. It should not be taken without medical supervision.
During pregnancy, low levels of Vitamin D in a woman’s body may lead to gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and small infants. Hence in order to maintain the normal level of Vitamin D, pregnant women should consume a supplement of Vitamin D3, a superior supplement of Vitamin D, so that they achieve the essential blood vessels that are necessary for their body.