Vitamin D Hormone deficiency
Yes, you read it right. Vitamin D has been found to have so many functions in the human body that it is consider “vitamin D hormone”. It has different important functions including:
- Bone metabolism
- Regulates many other cellular functions including calcium absorption
- Involve in several organ functions
- Important for optimal immune response
Vitamin D Hormone deficiency has been associated with many conditions:
- Musculoskeletal pain
- May play a significant part in multiple sclerosis, and various types of cancer.
Deficiency of Vitamin D may arise from:
–Insufficient sun exposure– vitamin D is the only vitamin that can be synthesized by humans. We have an inactive form of vitamin D in our body. The main source of vitamin D is via sunlight exposure and conversion of” inactive vitamin D” in the skin to active “vitamin D” through subsequent steps in the kidney and liver.
–Malnutrition– What foods and drinks have vitamin D? — Foods and drinks that have a lot of vitamin D include: Milk, orange juice, or yogurt with vitamin D added, Cooked salmon or mackerel, Canned tuna fish, Cereals with vitamin D added and Cod liver oil.
–Mal-absorption (due to pancreatic insufficiency, cholestatic liver disease, sprue, inflammatory bowel disease, jejuno-ileal bypass, gastrectomy, etc)
-Severe nephritic syndrome (renal insufficiency)
-If taking cholestyramine (bind bile acids necessary for vitamin D absorption)
Let me explain a little more about the sun exposure part. In the last century our daily sunlight exposure has drastically diminished (we live under a roof most of the time: house, car, work, sunscreen, etc) and this has been associated with decreased levels of vitamin D as proven by different studies. About 30 minutes of whole body-sun exposure will produce anywhere between 10-20,000 IU (international units) of Vitamin D, depending on your skin pigmentation. So, if you work as a bodyguard in a “Baywatch”-like bikini your vitamin D level should be fine.
How to check your vitamin D levels?
Your doctor can do a blood test to see if you have enough vitamin D. This test might be needed if you:
- Spend most or all of their time indoors
- Have medical problems (such as Celiac disease) that make it hard from them to absorb vitamin D
- Have “osteoporosis,” which makes bones weak
- Broke a bone too easily, such as by falling down
Depending on the lab results and clinical signs/symptoms you might need vitamin D supplementation.