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The Sunshine Vitamin – Vitamin D


The Sunshine Vitamin – Vitamin D

Vitamin D is extremely essential and vital for growth and development of our body. It helps in absorbing calcium to build and grow healthy bones. It is available in abundance from the sun, milk and egg yolk. Spending 5 to 40 minutes in the early morning sun twice a week, depending upon the skin tone, eating habits, region of stay and lifestyle, is sufficient to produce Vitamin D for a week. Infants are prescribed Vitamin D on birth as they cannot be carried out to the sun until a few weeks (due to increased risk of infection), till they are accustomed to the current environment.

In the present age, increasing responsibilities and night shift duties retards a person preventing them from going out in the early morning sun. Therefore healthy diet comprising of milk, fish, fish liver oil, egg yolks, and fortified dairy and grain products is highly recommended for people working in night shift or sleeping late in the morning.

Why is Vitamin D Vital for Human Body?

  • It helps in building strong bones by absorbing calcium in the gut,

  • It helps to form myelin sheath – the protective envelope around the nerves.

  • It boosts immunity to sustain common infections in the body

  • It has anti-inflammatory properties that develops healthy airways and mitigates the attack of asthma, 

  • It reduces the development of allergies and minimises the bacterial infection in children’s respiratory tract,

  • It is also required for cell growth modulation and neuromuscular function

Vitamin D Deficiency Disorders and Diseases1

  • Rickets – a disorder where bones become soft and deformed due to improper mineralization

  • Osteoporosis and osteomalacia

  • Falls

  • Cancer of prostrate, colon, breast, lung, marrow/lymphoma, 

  • Periodontal disease

  • Susceptibility/poor response to infection

  • Hypertension

  • Multiple sclerosis 

    • Deficiency during pregnancy can lead to development of multiple sclerosis in infants as well

  • Cognitive impairment in adults

  • Studies have also shown increased risk of death from Cardio Vascular Disease, type 1 and type 2 Diabetes and glucose intolerance. Though more investigation and research is required to prove it.

Test for Deficiency

25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test is recommended to identify the deficiency in the body.

20 nanograms/millilitre - 50 nanograms/millilitre is considered adequate for healthy people.

<12 nanograms/millilitre is considered a deficiency.

How Frequently Should I go for Vitamin D Test?

Although there’s no defined period of check for Vitamin D levels in the body, one should go for tests if any or all of the above symptoms are noticeable. Doctor’s will prescribe tests as per your medical conditions.

How to Improve Vitamin D Deficiency?

Taking external supplements and fortified dairy and grain products will help to replenish the deficiency of Vitamin D in the body. Right exposure to the sun, controlled weight and healthy diet are also ways to keep fit and mitigate Vitamin D deficiency.


1) “Vitamin D in Health and Disease”, Robert P. Heaney, CJASN Sep  2008, 3 (5) 1535-1541; DOI: 10.2215/CJN.01160308




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