Vitamin D3, also known as the “Sunshine Vitamin,” is a natural form of Vitamin D that is most commonly obtained through the sun. The scientific name for Vitamin D3 is Cholecalciferol .
The condition is alarmingly common now-a –days. Our lifestyles are becoming increasingly indoor-centric, especially in Indian metropolitan cities. But fighting the trend to spend a little time outdoors can have dramatic positive effects on the overall health.
Vitamin D3 is synthesized in our skin when we are exposed to ultraviolet light. D3 can also be obtained from supplements and foods such as egg yolks and cod liver oil.
Once it enters our circulation, vitamin D3 is converted in our liver and kidneys to the active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Although vitamin D’s most notable effects are on bone growth and calcium metabolism, it also affects many other organ system
Vitamin D3 Deficiency is a condition in which the blood-levels of Vitamin D3 (usually tested for in the 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 form) are chronically low for an extended period of time.
Symptoms and Health Risks of Vitamin D3 Deficiency:
For many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet even without symptoms, too little vitamin D3 can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:
- Bone pain and muscle weakness.
- Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment in older adults
- Severe asthma in children.
Causes of Vitamin D3 Deficiency:
- Not consuming the recommended levels of the vitamin over time: This is likely if you follow a strict vegetarian diet, because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver.
- Exposure to sunlight is limited: Because the body makes vitamin D3 when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.
- Dark skin: The pigment melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D3 in response to sunlight exposure.
- Kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form: As people age their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.
- Obesity: Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release into the circulation. People with a body mass index(BMI) of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D3.
- Reduces inflammation, which helps to relieve pain.
- Relief for arthritis sufferers as well as other forms of chronic pain.
- Helps to alleviate symptoms of depression and chronic fatigue.
- Helps to improve the overall health of the skin, hair and nails, and provides a much-needed boost for the immune system.
Treatment for vitamin D deficiency involves obtaining more vitamin D-3 through supplements, diet or exposure to sunlight.