Vitamin D tests can prevent the risk of a getting heart attack, diabetes & more

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods and is also available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced internally when ultraviolet rays (UV) from sunlight hit the skin and generate vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D obtained from these sources is biologically still and must undergo chemical process to activate Vitamin D in the body.

 

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Sources of Vitamin D and how is it produced?

Vitamin D is obtained from different sources like the Sun, food intake and through dietary supplements. Vitamin D cannot be absorbed directly, it needs to undergo through chemical processes to form and activate it in the body. There are 5 types of Vitamin Ds and the two important are Vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) that play a vital role in keeping up a good health. The main source of Vitamin D3 is said to be the exposure to the sun. When the skin of our body is exposed to the sun, vitamin D synthesis occurs. After which the body uses the Vitamin D however necessary.

We can make enough Vitamin D by spending short periods of time in the sun daily leaving the forearms, hands, lower legs uncovered, without sunscreen. People usually make enough vitamin D during the high summer, spring and autumn, the period between March and September. It is suggested by some vitamin D researchers that approximately 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week is very important to get adequate Vitamin D through the Sun. There are a number of factors that can affect how vitamin D is made, such as the skin colour and how much skin is exposed. But enough care should be taken to see that skin does not burn in the sun. Also, if stayed longer in the sun, the UV rays increase the risk of skin cancer. Factors that affect UV radiation exposure and vitamin D synthesis are season, time of day, length of day, cloud cover, smog, skin melanin content, and sunscreen. You cannot make Vitamin D if, there is complete cloud cover, shade, if a glass blocks the sunlight that reaches you and sunscreen with Sun protection factor more than 8.

Vitamin D is also obtained from sources like food and dietary supplements. Some forms of food that are rich in Vitamin D are oily fishes (salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna), red meat, liver, egg yolks, foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals. But this entire intake remains still until a chemical process called hydroxylations takes place which activates Vitamin D in the body. There are two types of hydroxylations that happen. The first takes place in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], also known as calcidiol. The second takes place primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], also known as calcitriol. Vitamin D supports calcium absorption in the intestines and maintains the right amount of serum calcium and phosphate concentrations that enable normal calcification of the bones and to prevent deficiency that may affect the bone health (hypocalcemic tetany).

Importance and Benefits of Vitamin D  

Vitamin D is a very important component of the body. They are important for everyone and it ensures that our body works well and helps fight illness and in the healing process. Vitamin D is needed for bone growth and bone remodeling in growing children. Deficiency of Vitamin D may make bones thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D and calcium combination also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.

How Vitamin D works within the body and affects the overall health is still a research topic. Doctors are still trying to research as to how Vitamin D helps in management of the overall health. According to a research by NSH, UK babies up to the age of one year need 8.5-10mcg of vitamin D a day and children from the age of one year and adults need 10mcg of vitamin D a day, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people with vitamin D deficiency. Below is the table representing the age specific requirement of Vitamin D:

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
0–12 months* 400 IU
(10 mcg)
400 IU
(10 mcg)
1–13 years 600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
14–18 years 600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
19–50 years 600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
51–70 years 600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
>70 years 800 IU
(20 mcg)
800 IU
(20 mcg)

 

Deficiency of Vitamin D

Deficiencies usually occur with intake of inadequate diet, damage due to over absorption and use, increased requirement or excretion more than necessity. Deficiency of Vitamin D can occur when usual intake is lower than recommended levels over time, limited exposure to sunlight, when the kidneys are unable to convert 25(OH)D to its active form, or there is inadequate absorption of vitamin D from the digestive tract. People who are allergic to milk, intolerant to lactose, highly vegetarian – who eat very little food rich in vitamin D are at higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

Deficiency of Vitamin D causes diseases like Rickets (a disease characterized by a failure of bone tissue to properly mineralize) in children soft bones and skeletal deformities and osteomalacia (a condition of softening of bones) in adults resulting in weak and brittle bones. There are different group of people who are at a higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency, few of them are as mentioned below:

  1. Breastfed Infants – Human milk provides less than 25 IU/L to 78 IU/L of Vitamin D, which is not sufficient for the infants to maintain the Vitamin D levels in the body. The vitamin D content in a mother’s milk is directly associated to the mother’s vitamin D status. The mothers who have intake of Vitamin D supplement during breastfeeding have equally high levels of this nutrient in their milk.
  2. People with Limited or No sun exposure – people who are housebound, women who wear full clothes or cover themselves completely and profession that limit sun exposure are not likely to get adequate Vitamin D through the source of sun. Such people can only intake Vitamin D through food and supplements, but sun remains the main source of Vitamin D.
  3. Older adults – with age, people tend to get weak, they cannot move around much and the skin cannot synthesize Vitamin D as efficiently as needed. Old people are likely to spend more time indoors and hence cannot make enough Vitamin D thus reducing the Vitamin D levels in their bodies.

People with dark skin, inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions causing fat malabsorption and people who are obese or who have undergone gastric bypass surgery are at a greater risk of deficiency of Vitamin D. Few researcher say, that the greater content of pigment melanin in the epidermal layer results in darker skin and this reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight. Some people with medical conditions like liver disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease, as well as ulcerative colitis may have restricted intake of foods like dairy products fortified with vitamin D and hence cannot absorb the fat. Since Vitamin D is fat-soluble vitamin, people with reduced gut’s ability to absorb dietary fat usually suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. It is also said that a body mass index less than 30 is associated with lower serum 25(OH)D levels. Hence people who are obese may need greater than usual intake of vitamin D to get enough 25(OH)D levels in the body.

Vitamin D Blood Tests:

Vitamin D levels in the body can be diagnosed using a simple blood serum test. Vitamin D Blood test provides information on two important components, Vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) in the form of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (is a prehormone that is produced in the liver by hydroxylation of vitamin D3) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (is the hormonally active metabolite of vitamin D which has three hydroxyl groups). Vitamin D test is usually ordered if a patient is observed with symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin D. When an individual is found low on calcium levels 25-hydroxyvitamin D usually is ordered to identify a possible deficiency in vitamin D and when an individual is suspected of some kidney disease or abnormalities of the enzyme that converts 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, this test is advised. When vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, or magnesium supplementation are necessary, vitamin D levels are also measured to observe treatment effectiveness.

The test results are measured in both nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). The calculations show that 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL. Below are the test result values and the health status associated with that for Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] test

nmol/L** ng/mL* Health status
<30 <12 Indicates vitamin D deficiency. Causes rickets
in infants and children and osteomalacia in adults
30 to <50 12 to <20 Considered insufficient. Affects bone and overall health.
≥50 ≥20 Considered sufficient and adequate for bone and overall health
>125 >50 Considered to be Toxic. Can have adverse effects on the health particularly >150 nmol/L (>60 ng/mL)

 

Serum concentration of 25(OH)D is considered to be the best indicator of vitamin D status when compared to 1,25(OH)2D. 1,25(OH)2D has a short half-life of 15 hours and serum concentrations are directly synchronized by parathyroid hormone, calcium, and phosphate. Decrease in the levels of 1,25(OH)2D can be seen only if the vitamin D deficiency is severe.

How can Vitamin D prevent getting a heart attack, diabetes and more!

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may include increased rates of sickness and infections, fatigue, painful bones and back, depressed mood, impaired wound healing, hair loss and muscles pain. Long term deficiency of Vitamin D and if left untreated, it can also result in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D is a key component for strong bones, and it also protects against many health problems. Vitamin D deficiency are linked to higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, Cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children and may also contribute to the development of certain cancers, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

Maintaining an adequate level of Vitamin D will help in building resistance to chronic diseases, physiological parameters such as immune response or levels of parathyroid hormone, and functional measures such as skeletal health and physical performance and falls. Vitamin D also helps in:

  • Maintaining the health of your teeth
  • Supports the immune system, brain, and nervous system
  • Helps you to fight infection
  • Regulate insulin levels and assist diabetes management
  • Helps in proper lung function and heart health
  • Helps in healthy pregnancies and healthy infants
  • Influence the genes involved in cancer development, acts as Anti-cancer effect

One can maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D by enough exposure to sun, taking diet rich in Vitamin D and dietary supplements.

Vitamin D tests @75% Discount through Bookmyscans

Having adequate levels of Vitamin D, helps in maintaining the overall health of an individual. How do you know what is the level of Vitamin D you have? Is it adequate? Bookmyscans has been able to help people find out this with the help of Vitamin D test packages throughout the year. It is very important to include Vitamin D test in the regular preventive health checks that you take so that you can reduce the risk of Vitamin D deficiency which in turn helps you have a healthy and well functioning body. The results of the test vary across different labs and the type of the test kit used to check the levels of Vitamin D. Hence it is very important to take tests at reliable and technically compliant laboratories.

You can rely for best and accurate results at labs associated with Bookmyscans, as we partner only with diagnostic centers that are certified by ISO and NABL. We assure you quality services and accurate results that are easily accessible online and can be conveniently downloaded whenever necessary. Vitamin D test cost in the market is above INR 3500, whereas, if you book appointments with centers associated with Bookmyscans, you can get the test at an affordable price with assured discounts on the market rate and you will be paying just Rs.1100 for vitamin D blood tests. Don’t wait for the symptoms to find you have the deficiency of Vitamin D. Just take the advantage of Bookmyscans and detect it as early as possible to avoid further health problems.