“Bask in the sun for strong bones”, is a common adage each one of us hear now and then! Sunshine is an essential to sustain life on Earth. Apart from providing warmth, it kick starts the production of vitamin D, just by touching our skin. This sunshine vitamin is the only vitamin which our body can make on its own. Majority of us are aware of its benefits only till the fact that it provides strong bones. However, it does more than that!
Vitamin D functions include,
- Enhancing muscle function
- Brain development
- Strengthening immune system
- Boosting Cardiovascular function for a healthy heart and circulation
- Fostering healthy lungs and airways
- Anti-cancer effects
What happens if you get less of D?
Less than normal levels of vitamin D cause its deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of heart diseases, weight gain, high blood pressure, type 1 and 2 diabetes, depression, autoimmune diseases and various cancer types (breast, prostate, colon), etc. Its deficiency opens floodgates to various infections and illnesses.
Symptoms due to low levels of vitamin D,
- Bone pain
- Muscle weakness
- Unexplained fatigue
- Soft bones causing deformities
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Recurrent bone fractures
- Soft/Deformed bones
- Thin and brittle bones
What happens if you get too much of D?
Higher than normal levels of vitamin D may cause its toxicity. It can’t result due to diet or sun exposure but due to intake of high doses of vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D toxicity is dangerous and manifests following signs,
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased thirst and urination
- Poor appetite
- Heart rhythm problems
- Kidney damage (stones, hardening)
Pay heed to the symptoms, get the vitamin D levels checked timely. Go for a preventive healthcare checkup today to know your existing serum vitamin D levels. Adequate levels of vitamin D can be achieved with selected foods (like flesh of fatty fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks), sunlight exposure and supplements. Toxicity can be prevented by discontinuing or lowering the intake of high-dose vitamin D supplements.
Basking in the sun for some minutes is enough and an easier way to produce vitamin D naturally. But not camping out in the hot sun for hours with no sunscreen!
Vitamin D fends off diseases, pay attention to its levels, for healthy and fit lifestyle!