Vitamin D is one of the most important minerals required by the body. It is also known as the sunshine vitamin which is produced by the body when exposed to the sun. Besides, there are many foods available which are a rich source of Vitamin D. Our body requires enough Vitamin D for the maintenance of bones and teeth, boosting the immune system, maintenance of nervous system, regulation of insulin levels, and supporting the functioning of lungs and our cardiovascular health.
What is Vitamin D?
Despite how it may seem, Vitamin D is a pro-hormone (and not a vitamin) produced by the body. Unlike any other vitamin, our body can synthesise Vitamin D on being exposed to the sun. Being under sun’s exposure for around 10 minutes around 3 times a week can produce sufficient Vitamin D. But the supply of Vitamin D in the body can run low since it breaks down quickly.
Health benefits of Vitamin D
1. Healthy bones
To maintain the health of bones, it is important to have sufficient levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body. Availability of Vitamin D helps in regulating levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
Deficiency of Vitamin D can cause a disease known as rickets. The disease softens bones and makes one bow-legged. In adults, Vitamin D
In adults, deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases in post-menopausal women.
2. Prevents cancer
Vitamin D is essential for the regulation of cell growth and their communication. Sufficient levels of Vitamin D slow down the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue and increases death of cancer cells.
3. Reduces risk of diabetes
Sufficient levels of Vitamin D in the body can reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. People suffering from type 2 diabetes will have a negative impact on insulin secretion if their Vitamin D levels are lower than required.
4. Reduces risk of flu
Sufficient levels of Vitamin D helps in reducing risks of diseases like flu.
5. Ensures healthy pregnancy
Vitamin D is considered as an essential requirement for healthy pregnancy. Deficiency of Vitamin D in pregnant women can increase chances of caesarean section. Bacterial vaginosis and gestational diabetes are other risks posed by deficiency of Vitamin D in pregnant women.
However, the levels need to be regulated as high levels of Vitamin D can make the child prone to food allergies during the first 2 years after birth.
Vitamin D deficiency
Even though the body creates Vitamin D, the deficiency can occur because of reasons like darker skin colour or excessive use of sunscreen. Sunscreens with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 are capable of reducing body’s ability to absorb ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
For producing Vitamin D, the body has to be directly exposed to sunlight and not covered by it.
Also, people who stay at northern altitudes or places with high pollution can also be deficient in Vitamin D. They can extract Vitamin D from food sources.
While Vitamin D supplements can be consumed as well, it is recommended to take Vitamin D from as natural sources as possible.
Deficiency of Vitamin D can increase risk of cardiovascular diseases, autism, hypertension, Alzheimer’s diseases, asthma, swine flu and multiple sclerosis to name a few.
Symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin D
Some common symptoms of Vitamin D include poor immune system which makes you fall sick too often; constantly feeling tired or fatigue; pain in the bones and back; depressed mood; slower healing of wounds; loss of hair and muscle pain.
If the deficiency of Vitamin D continues for a long period of time, it can lead to conditions like obesity, diabetes, depression, hypertension, chronic fatigue symptoms, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Recommended intake of Vitamin D
According to the US Institutes of Medicine, the recommended intake of infants upto 12 months is 10 micrograms (mcg), 15 mcgs in children from 1 to 18 years of age, 15 mcg in adult upto the age of 70 and 20 mcg in adults over 70 years of age. Pregnant or lactating women should get at least 15 mcg of Vitamin D.
Food sources of Vitamin D
Fish oil and fatty fish are considered to be good sources of Vitamin D. Besides, cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, fortified skimmed milk, tuna, eggs and chicken are all foods rich in Vitamin D.
Health risks of consuming too much Vitamin D
If Vitamin D is consumed in excess amounts, it can lead to over calcification of bones, and hardening of kidneys, blood vessels, lungs and heart. Also, consuming Vitamin D in excess amounts can lead to conditions like headache, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation and diarrhoea to name a few.
So, instead of focusing in one particular mineral, one should focus on consuming a balanced diet which includes a variety of minerals.
6 Warning Signs of Protein Deficiency
The list containing all the roles and functions of protein can be a really long one. This nutrient is necessary for building and repairing muscles and other tissues in the body such as the blood, cartilages, bones and skin. It is also important for the production of hormones or chemicals that regulate an assortment of bodily processes. Without sufficient amounts of protein in the diet or even in supplement form, it can be hard for anyone to attain optimal health.
It doesn’t come as a surprise why a lot of vegans, weight-watchers and others who are on restrictive diets to suffer from the various symptoms of protein deficiency.
By consuming foods that contain little or no protein, the body has no choice but to utilize protein that’s already in it, causing wasting of the tissues where protein is stored, such as in the muscles.
These are some of the warning signs you will observe if you are suffering from protein deficiency:
This is not caused by excess fat as you might suspect, but by the inflammation of the salivary glands. This condition usually takes place if there’s an ongoing protein-carbohydrate imbalance within you.
Edema is the reason for this, a condition wherein excessive fluid collect in the tissues. This happens because protein is one of the various components that factor in your body’s fluid balance.
Again, this has something to do with the pooling of water in the tissues, known in the medical world as edema. There’s an assortment of health conditions that lead to edema, and one of them is protein deficiency.
This condition may be brought about by a handful of things. One of them is not having enough protein in the diet. This doesn’t really come as a surprise as your hair is mostly made up of protein.
Excessive skin dryness
Not getting enough protein can cause the skin to end up really dry and flaky, and even develop rashes. Protein deficiency makes you more prone to getting sunburned too.
Lethargy or brain fog
Your energy and cognitive functioning are also affected when protein deficiency strikes. As mentioned earlier, protein is vital for the normal production of hormones. Some of these hormones have something to do with stress, energy production and mental alertness.
To avoid these problems, it’s important to get sufficient amounts of protein daily. There is a simple formula for calculating how much protein you need to consume everyday: your weight in pounds / 2 = daily protein requirement in grams.
Common protein form linked to cardiac, metabolic diseases: Study
A form of protein, clusterin, has been associated with many different facets of cardiometabolic syndrome risk through its actions in the liver, suggests a new research study.
In addition, it is linked to increased cardiovascular disease risk and mortality, high blood pressure, harmful cholesterol levels and fatty liver disease.
Cardiometabolic syndrome (CMS) is a cluster of conditions that increase a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. These conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
“Our goal was to discover new factors produced by the cells in fat tissue that have an impact on cardiometabolic disease.
In particular, we wanted to identify those important to maintaining the framework of fat tissue, called the extracellular matrix, which becomes dysfunctional in obesity,” said David Bradley, Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University in the US.For the study, the team included a small group of 54 obese and 18 lean patients.
The findings, published in the journal, Diabetes Care, showed that clusterin, which is overproduced from the fat cells of obese patients, is strongly related to insulin resistance, said the study.
Insulin resistance is a major cause of Type-2 Diabetes, and patients with obesity commonly have both metabolic and cardiovascular complications. “Fat cells increase clusterin production as they enlarge in obesity.
Clusterin may be a biomarker of disease, as well as a therapeutic target to potentially prevent this disease,” said lead researcher Willa Hsueh, Professor at the varsity. “This collaborative research is shedding new light on the importance of clusterin on ‘cardiometabolic syndrome’, which may eventually lead to developing new treatments for this life-threatening combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity,” said K. Craig Kent, dean at the varsity.
CMS, which affects about 25 per cent of the world’s population, is now recognised as a disease entity by the World Health Organization and the American Society of Endocrinology. Further translational research involving mouse models is needed to learn more about how clusterin impacts each of the CMS components and whether administrating clusterin-inhibiting antibodies inhibits CMS, the study noted.
Drinking orange juice daily may keep strokes at bay
Drinking orange juice daily may cut your risk of deadly strokes by almost a quarter, suggests a study. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed that people who consumed the juice each day saw a reduction in the risk of a brain clot by 24 per cent, the Daily Mail reported.
Further, the rates of heart disease were also reduced in regular drinkers, who were 12 to 13 per cent less likely to suffer with damaged arteries.Fresh fruit juices have long been thought of as healthy.
But consumers in recent years have been put off by warnings over their high sugar content.Advertise With Us The researchers noted that the health benefits in terms of stroke prevention could outweigh the risks from sugar content. “We found a favourable association with pure fruit juice consumption,” said researchers from the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health.
It’s not just orange juice that has this benefit, other fruit juices also appear to cut the risk, they noted. Juice is thought to contain many of the naturally-occurring plant substances found in whole fruit that can protect blood vessels against disease. However, the team said despite the obvious benefits of juice, they would still recommend eating whole fruit as well, as there are more studies confirming its benefits. For the study, the team examined nearly 35,000 men and women aged between 20 and 70 years.
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