The very word ‘vitamin D’ reminds me of the Bournvita ad. They have said it loud and clear that ‘Vitamin D ke bina dodh ka calcium waste ho jata hai’. So Bournvita is fortified with Vitamin D so that kids don’t miss out on their calcium.
Let me tell you what crossed my mind when I saw this ad for the first time. I just thought that why do they need to add vitamin D in the health drink? Doesn’t our body synthesise it in presence of sunlight?
It may have been the case with you all too. But now I think this is done to ensure that the children don’t suffer from Rickets which is a disease caused due to the deficiency of Vitamin D.
Oh well, allow me to proceed and tell you more about Vitamin D.
It is a fat soluble vitamin and it is also called ‘sunshine vitamin’ as it is synthesised by the body under sunlight (So we should worship the Sun God every morning!!).
Why is Vitamin D Important ?
- It is an immune system regulator and helps the immune system fight disorders like the common cold.
- It is vital for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous, and both are needed for the maintenance of healthy bones.
- It plays a key role in maintaining cognitive functions where the word cognitive refers to awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.
- I am sure that you would be happy to hear this! Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body weight, according to a study.
- It is known to reduce the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms.
- It has been shown to reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women.
- It protects from radiation damage (low levels of radiation).
- Studies have shown that people with adequate levels of vitamin D have a considerably lower risk of developing cancer.
- It enables recovery from TB in a rapid manner.
- Low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of heart attack and early death. So it becomes essential to maintain adequate levels of this vitamin in the body.
What happens when there is a deficiency of the vitamin in the body?
- Bone pain and muscle weakness ( a sign of the deficiency)
- Little children might develop rickets, a condition in which there is a softening of bones. They may also be affected by asthma.
Now the question arises that why is there a deficiency of the sunshine vitamin in the body?
Vitamin D Deficiency can be due to any of the following reasons:
- If you have a strict vegetarian diet. As only animal products are good sources of the vitamin.
- If you don’t expose yourself to sunlight. We have ample sunshine here in India but you may be using too much of sun block/sun screen or staying indoors always.
- If there is more melanin pigmentation in your skin. It may become difficult to synthesise Vit-D in such a case.
- Obesity can cause lower levels of the vitamin in the body.
- The digestive tract might not be absorbing the vitamin from the food.
Foods rich in Vitamin D
- Cereal(the ones that are fortified)
- Orange juice
The recommended daily allowance is as follows:
- 600 IU/day for ages 1 to 70
- 800 IU/day for over 70 years of age
- 600 IU/day for pregnant and lactating women
Get outdoors and have a free dose of vitamin D but ensure you take food that is rich in it too.
Stay fit and take care!
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