VITAMIN D (CALCIFEROL) – The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is insoluble in water and cannot be easily destroyed by heating. This vitamin is absorbed in the jejunum of small intestine and is transported to the blood stream. Vitamin D is stored in the bones, brain, liver and skin.
Functions in the Body
During childhood and adolescent period Vitamin D is needed for the proper formation of bones and teeth. It also prevents dental caries. Parathyroid gland regulates the calcium level in the blood, and for healthy functioning Vitamin D is essential.
Satisfactory future development of the child is assured when a pregnant mother takes a good supply of this vitamin. It also protects against rickets and assists assimilation of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in the digestive tract.
When sunlight falls upon the surface of the body, a substance present beneath the skin produces Vitamin D. It is present only in meager amounts in butter, eggs and clarified butter. Fish-liver oil is however the best source of Vitamin D.
(R.D.A. – Men - .01mg, Women - .01mg, Children - .01mg)
Deficiency Symptoms –
Brittle or soft bones, pyorrhea, poor bone formation in children, retarded growth and tooth decay maybe caused due to deficiency of Vitamin D. In children lack of this vitamin can also give rise to improper activity of the parathyroid gland and results in convulsions. Deficient assimilation of minerals, lack of vigor, premature ageing and muscular weakness may also be caused. Rickets maybe caused due to the prolonged deficiency of Vitamin D, wherein the whole body is affected and the bones are not calcified properly.
Healing and Therapeutic Properties
Vitamin D doses are not to be administered for more than a month.
1. Rickets – Depending on the severity of the disease therapeutic doses vary. They are available in the form of capsules and syrups. A synthetic preparation called calciferol is found very useful and is used in the prevention and cure of rickets.
2. Bone Repair – Excess of vitamin stored in the bones acts as a reserve for bone repair when needed. Vitamin D increases calcium absorption through intestinal wall and reabsorption from kidneys. Decomposition of minerals in bones and teeth, are also regulated by Vitamin D.
3. Arthritis – For the effective treatment of arthritis Vitamin D is to be taken along with calcium, for the body to utilize it efficiently.
4. Tooth Decay – In children especially when generous amount of Vitamin was given, the teeth became harder and firmer and tooth destruction actually stopped.
Some individuals may face adverse effects if above 125 mcg dose of Vitamin D is taken daily. The symptoms of toxicity are diarrhea, itching on the skin, sore eyes, urgent and frequent urination, thirst and vomiting. Besides blood-vessel walls, stomach, lungs, kidneys and liver may show abnormal deposits of calcium.