Nearly half of the world’s population suffers from some level of vitamin D insufficiency. These factors reduce the amount of time people are exposed to sunlight, which is necessary for the skin to produce vitamin D in response to UVB radiation. Since it is an independent risk factor for overall mortality in the general population, vitamin D insufficiency is a significant public health issue to be addressed. Researchers have discovered that getting more vitamin D than is presently recommended may help prevent chronic diseases. As ultraviolet-B radiation (i.e. sunshine) is the primary source of Vitamin D synthesis in the skin, dietary intake plays a very small impact in the body’s production.
Most people do not get enough vitamin D in their diet to keep them healthy. Vitamin D insufficiency affects a large percentage of people worldwide, and health officials must do something about it if they want to prevent it from worsening the situation. Healthier living via more participation in outdoor activities and better diet is definitely needed.
All age groups are at risk of vitamin D insufficiency. Supplementation with recommended daily intake and safe maximum limits is advised since few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Globally, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is rising, and this is linked to an increased risk of numerous illnesses.
In nations like the United States, Canada, India and Finland, systematic vitamin D food fortification has previously been implemented as a successful method to improving vitamin D status in general populations. Recent advances in our understanding of vitamin D treatment safety, the dose-response relationship between vitamin D intake and 25(OH)D levels, and data on the effectiveness of vitamin D fortification in countries like Finland provide a solid basis for introducing and modifying vitamin D food fortification to improve public health with this likewise cost-effective approach.
The sun’s vitamin’s biology
Only vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin from sunshine exposure, making it a one-of-a-kind vitamin. Key biological functions in the body need vitamin D for proper execution. There are two kinds of vitamin D (D2 & D3). Sun-exposed mushrooms have been shown to be a natural source of vitamin D2. The most “natural” form is caused by UVB rays from the sun striking the skin, which results in the production of vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is not produced by humans.
Deficiency in Vitamin D: Causes and Effects
Natural sunshine is the primary source of vitamin D for both children and adults. As a result, poor sunshine exposure is a primary contributing factor in Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D3 synthesis is reduced by a number of reasons, including increasing skin pigmentation, age, and the use of a sunscreen topically. Vitamin D insufficiency leads to problems in the metabolism of calcium, phosphorus, and bone. Vitamin D improves the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by 30–40% and by 80–85%, respectively. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you’ll absorb just 10%–15% of your calcium and 60% of your phosphorus. Low vitamin D levels result in less calcium and phosphorus absorption from food, which increases levels of the hormone parathyroid hormone (PTH). Osteoclastic activity is increased by PTH, which leads to localized bone weakening and a reduction in bone mineral density (BMD). A skeletal mineralization deficiency is caused by an insufficient calcium–phosphorus product. When a child’s skeleton is deficient in minerals, it may lead to a number of skeletal abnormalities that are collectively referred to as rickets. As a result of their vitamin D insufficiency, afflicted youngsters and the elderly suffer from growing sway and frequent falls, increasing their risk of fracture. Blood pressure, bone density, immunological and cardiovascular systems, muscle and brain function are all influenced by vitamin D. It also affects cell cycle regulation. A research revealed that women who did not obtain enough vitamin D had a harder time becoming pregnant and had a higher chance of miscarriage.
According to current research, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin concentrations are the most reliable way to determine vitamin D status. The recommended range for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations is between 10 and 20 nanomol/L, which corresponds to an intake of vitamin D of between 10 and 20 micrograms per day (400-800 international units).
Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] Concentrations and Health
|<30||<12||Associated with vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to rickets in infants and children and osteomalacia in adults|
|30 to <50||12 to <20||Generally considered inadequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals|
|50||20||Generally considered adequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals|
|>125||>50||Linked to potential adverse effects, particularly at >150 nmol/L (>60 ng/mL)|
Vitamin D sources
To get enough vitamin D from natural diet alone is difficult to achieve; supplementation is recommended. Getting enough vitamin D from diet and sunshine is critical for good health. Vitamin D supplementation may be necessary for certain persons to get their recommended daily intake. Vitamin D generated by the skin stays in the blood for up to twice as long as vitamin D taken in. A few numbers of foods contain significant amounts of D. Supplementing with vitamin D is the greatest approach to increase your levels. Individual vitamin D supplements come in a wide range of forms and dosages. A healthy dose of vitamin D may be obtained through cod liver oil.
Vitamin D values per serving are provided for a wide range of foods in the list below.
All in all, Vitamin D is promoting good health and warding off chronic diseases is now being investigated. There appears to be consistency across the world that people of all ages are vulnerable to vitamin D insufficiency. People at risk of deficiency should have their 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels checked first. Supplementing with adequate upper limit levels of vitamin D is recommended due to its rarity in foods.
M F Holick, X Q Tian, and M Allen; Evolutionary importance for the membrane enhancement of the production of vitamin D3 in the skin of poikilothermic animals. PNAS April 11, 1995 92 (8) 3124-3126; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.92.8.3124
MICHAEL F. HOLICK Anticancer Research March 2016, 36 (3) 1345-1356; https://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/36/3/1345
Biological Effects of Sunlight, Ultraviolet Radiation, Visible Light, Infrared Radiation and Vitamin D for Health https://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/36/3/1345
National Institute of Health https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
Pubmed.Gov: Vitamin D deficiency https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17634462/