Vitamin D: For Better Calcium Absorption and Healthy Bones

Sunday, 24 Nov 2013 09:12 PM

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The Role of Vitamin D in the Body
Vitamin D, an essential vitamin, is synthesized by the body when exposed to sunlight. The body fulfills 80 percent of its vitamin D needs from exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D can also be had in small amounts from foods like oily fish (mackerel, tuna, sardines, etc.).

Since only small amounts of vitamin D can be had from food and fortified food (with synthetically added vitamin D), a variety of vitamin D tablets and other supplements have been manufactured. However, sunlight is still the most important source of vitamin D to the body.

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Benefits of Vitamin D
  • Without appropriate amounts of vitamin D, the body cannot assimilate all the calcium and phosphorous in food consumed daily into the blood or use them in metabolic pathways as naturally designed.
  • This essential vitamin helps in building strong musculoskeletal structures, including healthy bones and joints. weak bones (rickets disease) are a result of vitamin D deficiency because calcium absorption becomes anemic in its absence, however good a person’s diet may be. Those with arthritis, osteoporosis, fractures, inherited bone diseases, or any other bones and joint diseases are prescribed vitamin D tablets as part of their regular medication regime.
  • Deficiency of this essential vitamin can also lead to heart and blood vessel diseases, certain types of skin diseases (psoriasis, scleroderma, etc.), lung diseases (bronchitis, asthma, COPD), tooth problems, and gum diseases. All these are results of poor phosphorous and calcium absorption due to vitamin D deficiency.
  • Vitamin D boosts the immune system as well. Supplements might be recommended for autoimmune diseases or other immune system-related troubles.
  • Vitamin D, when consumed in sufficient amounts, helps prevent tooth loss, gum troubles, frequent fractures, bone loss, arthritis, and even cancer in elderly people.


Dosage of Vitamin D
  • Exposure to sunlight in safe hours and on a regular basis is enough to meet our daily needs of this essential vitamin. However, for weak bones and joints, vitamin D tablets along with certain lifestyle changes are suggested. For other diseases occurring from mineral deficiency, vitamin D tablets are prescribed with specific medicines for the condition; the two, together, help the patient regain health quickly.
  • While exposure to sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D, overexposure can lead to skin problems like sunburn or tanning. Controlled exposure without protective covering over the skin (e.g., sunscreen) is suggested. This will suffice to give you healthy bones and avoid any health issues related to phosphorous or calcium absorption or vitamin D deficiency. When vitamin D tablets are necessary, dosage is decided depending on the level of efficiency and the body’s requirement. A physician’s recommendation is required.


Side Effects
  • This essential vitamin is absolutely safe when the recommended dose is consumed for a prescribed time. Slight side effects like nausea, headaches, loss of appetite, metallic taste, dry mouth, lethargy, and vomiting might be experienced.
  • For increasing calcium absorption, a high dose might be prescribed as short-term treatment. The duration of consumption should be carefully followed as prescribed.
  • In case of overdose (more than 4,000 units), serious consequences like kidney stones and atherosclerosis can occur. Hence, the prescribed amount and duration should be carefully followed for taking vitamin D tablets (or others in oral forms) to regulate the amount of this essential vitamin in the body.
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