How long does it take to recover from vitamin D deficiency?
“If you put people on 2,000-4,000 [milligrams] of vitamin D based on what their deficient value was, you can usually get them corrected in four to six weeks, which is when you are really going to need the vitamin D.
The main function of vitamin D is to maintain the balance of minerals in the body, primarily the level of calcium and phosphorous.
Vitamin D enhances the absorption of minerals in the intestines, prevents excessive loss of these minerals in the kidneys, and controls the entry and exit of minerals into the bones.
In addition, new research indicates that vitamin D has an important role in regulating cell growth processes, including suppressing the growth of cancer cells and increasing the activity of the immune system.
The main sources of vitamin D
The main sources of vitamin D are the following:
- Self-production in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation: the raw material 7-dehydrocholesterol is transformed into pre-vitamin D3) and finally into vitamin D3).
- External supply from food: Vitamin D is found in foods that come from animals, and it is completely identical to Vitamin D3 that is produced in our bodies. On the other hand, vitamin D2 comes from plant foods. Vitamin D is found in special types of foods such as liver, egg yolks and fish oil.
The recommended daily intake is 400-600 IU (0.1 IU = 0.025 mg). This amount can also be provided by exposure to the sun. In the USA, it is a practice to add synthetic vitamin D to milk and milk products.
Important details about vitamin D
Vitamin D is actually a hormone from the family of steroid hormones, whose production in our body is strictly controlled, and the mechanism of its production is similar to that of other hormones.
The vitamin must undergo changes in the liver and kidneys, before it is functionally ready. In the liver, the vitamin undergoes hydroxylation, which results in hydroxyvitamin D25 (D25).
The vast majority of vitamin D is converted into this product, and the determination of this substance in the blood reflects the state of vitamin D in the body.
In the kidneys, additional hydroxylation takes place to obtain Dihydroxyvitamin D 1,25 (D 1,25). This product is the potent hormonal derivative of vitamin D.
The production of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D in the kidneys is closely controlled: if the level of calcium or phosphorous is low, or the level of parathyroid hormone in the blood is high, the production of the active vitamin D derivative increases, and vice versa.
Malnutrition or diseases in the digestive system, which in turn lead to difficulty in the process of absorbing food and insufficient exposure to sunlight, results in a deficiency in vitamin D, low level of calcium in the blood, disorders of bone calcification and diseases such as: rickets in children and laxity bones in adults.
The reduced ability to absorb vitamin D in the intestine, and the low efficiency of self-production of vitamin D in the aging generation, may lead to vitamin D deficiency in the elderly.
After understanding the system for converting substances to obtain vitamin D, it became clear that liver disease may lead to a decrease in the level of hydroxyvitamin D25 in the blood; Kidney failure leads to disturbances in the production of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and a similar problem appears in the case of hypofunction of the thyroid gland.
In these cases, the balance in calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood is undermined, and various bone diseases result.
Women and Vitamin D
The disappearance of estrogen in postmenopausal women has a negative effect on mineral production due to a decrease in the production of 1,25 DHA and a decrease in the amount of 1,25 D receptors.
A decrease in the level and activity of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D increases the activity of the thyroid gland and promotes the processes of breaking down bones, which leads to osteoporosis .
In addition, two genetic diseases are known that are the result of the body’s resistance to vitamin D:
- In the first type there is a very low production of 1,25 D . D
- The second type is characterized by the absence of 1,25-DHA receptors in the target cells. In both cases the symptoms are due to a deficiency in vitamin D.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include the following:
- Chronic fatigue.
- Chronic and continuous pain in various parts of the body.
- Autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis , etc.)
- Osteoporosis (slow weakening of the bones due to the depletion of calcium stores in the body)
- The development of heart disease , high blood pressure and heart attacks.
Complications of Vitamin D deficiency
Osteoporosis is the classic symptom that is associated with vitamin D deficiency in the body.
The effect of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency affects humans as follows:
- Deficiency in the vitamin, especially in children, leads to fragility diseases that result in severe deformities of the skeleton and limb bones.
- In adults, a deficiency in vitamin D may lead to weak muscles and bones.
The population group at greatest risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency is:
- the elderly
- People who are overweight
- lactating women
- People who expose their bodies to limited sunlight
- People with cystic fibrosis or inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease).
Vitamin D deficiency treatment
Vitamin D deficiency is treated by:
- Eating foods rich or fortified with vitamin D
- Take pills that contain vitamins
- Intravenous injection of the vitamin.
For patients with metabolic disorders, they are treated with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or its synthetic analogues.