What you need to know about Vitamin D

 

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, that enables your body to function and also helps form strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D are substances that are made in your body. It is required to absorb calcium and regulate the amount of phosphate in your body. These nutritions keep the bones, teeth, muscles, nerves and immune system healthy.

Several studies have backed the role of Vitamin D in helping people fight the COVID infection.

Let’s understand a little bit more about this nutrient.

 

How do I get the required amount of Vitamin D?

You can get Vitamin D  in three ways:

  • Through your skin
  • From your diet
  • Through supplements

 

When your skin is exposed to sunlight, Vitamin D is produced in your body. However, be careful not to over expose as this may cause skin ageing and cancer.

Alternatively, you can get the supply from dietary sources. Foods rich in Vitamin D include 

  • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals

Another source of Vitamin D is supplement.

How much Vitamin D will you need?

Babies up to the age of 1 year will need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.

Children from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

During COVID times, consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy. This is because you may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you’re indoors  most of the day.

There have been some news reports about vitamin D helping to boost immunity and reducing the risk of coronavirus. There is currently not enough evidence to support this.

However, talk to your doctor once before starting your meds. Do not buy more vitamin D than you need.

 

What happens when I don’t get enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D deficiency results in a condition called Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults. This condition affects the bones.

You can have muscle weakness, muscle aches and cramps, pain, fatigue and depression.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in protecting you against some conditions like

  • Heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Infections and immune system disorder
  • Falls in older people
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis

The deficiency of this vitamin can go unnoticed initially. However, your tongue can be an indicator of the deficiency. This will prompt your doctor to propose that you undergo a test for Vitamin D deficiency.

And what exactly is this sign?

The “Burning Tongue Syndrome”

The burning pain or hot sensation is typically felt on the lips, tongue, or can be widespread in your mouth. You can also experience some numbness, dryness and an unpleasant taste. (Although, these symptoms are not limited to  Vitamin D deficiency alone.)

What is Vitamin D toxicity?

Taking too much of Vitamin D is not good for your health. Overdose results in build up  of calcium in your body ( Hypercalcaemia). This can weaken your bones and can damage your kidneys and the heart. Always consult your health care provider about the dose, and the duration of taking vitamin D supplements. Exposure to sun between 10 am and 2 pm is best to get the right amount and form of the vitamin. But take care to not over expose and cover up, if you are spending long hours in the sun.

 

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