Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, so it is vital for bone and tooth health. In recent times it has also been found to have a significant role in regulating cell growth, supporting immune function and the production of insulin. It is also known as sunshine vitamin as the most common and natural source of vitamin D is the sunlight.
Natural sunlight is one of the best sources of Vitamin D.
Dietary sources of vitamin D are:
-Cod Liver Oil
Problems associated with Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and as such, any excess is stored in the body for use when needed. People at risk from Vitamin D deficiency include those who do not go outside very much, or cover most of their body with clothing while they are outside.
In children, a deficiency in vitamin D can result in rickets (soft bones) due to the lack of Calcium absorption in the body. In adults, Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to osteomalacia, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency
The two forms of vitamin D supplements are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both increase vitamin D in the blood. Vitamin D supplements are readily available, inexpensive, easy to administer, and safe. At high doses, vitamin D2 may be less potent than vitamin D3. The safe upper limit for vitamin D is 1,000–1,500 IU/day for infants, 2,500–3,000 IU/day for children aged 1–8 years, and 4,000 IU/day for children ≥ 9 years of age, adults, and pregnant and lactating teens and women.
Vitamin D and type 2 diabetes
After conducting a meta-analysis and review of the impact of vitamin D and calcium on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, concluded that insufficient vitamin D and calcium appears to hinder glycemic control and that supplementing both nutrients may be necessary to optimize glucose metabolism. An observational study from the Nurses Health Study that included 83,779 women > 20 years of age found an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in those with low vitamin D status. A combined daily intake of > 800 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 33%. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III study between 1988 and 1994 demonstrated that there is a strong inverse association between low levels of 25(OH)D and diabetes prevalence. Low vitamin D levels have also been shown to be predictive of the future development of type 2 diabetes. One study showed that increasing vitamin D serum levels to normal led to a 55% relative reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As with most disease states and vitamin D, prospective studies related to vitamin D supplementation and diabetes are rare and limited. Prospective trials of vitamin D and diabetes to date were either too small or used inadequate amounts of vitamin D.