Vitamin D Test
The sight of leafy greens and a glass of milk is anathema to youngsters, and the rays of the early morning sun remain strangers to late-risers and indoor-addicts. Hence their unfamiliarity with the important hormone – Vitamin D.
The two major forms of vitamin D found in supplements are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
|Vitamin D Form||Derived from|
|D3||Present in animal products, naturally builds up after sun exposure|
|D2||comes from plant and fungal sources.|
What are the functions of Vitamin D?
Although it accounts for only a small percentage of a balanced diet (like other vitamins and minerals), Vitamin D is capable of modulating the body’s immune responses, regulating the development and functioning of the nervous system and enabling proper muscle movement. It is one of the most important nutrient for teeth and bone health.
In addition to its standalone responsibilities, Vitamin D also helps in the absorption and proper utilisation of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. This means that no matter how calcium-rich your diet is, without the approving presence of Vitamin D, the calcium is of no value. Thus, a shortage of this vitamin interferes not only with its own duties, but also with those of calcium.
When is Vitamin D advised
Normal Vitamin D intake in a healthy person up to 70 years of age is 600 IUs (International Units) per day. For those aged above 70, the required intake increases to 800 IUs per day.
Deficiency of Vitamin D disrupts normal bodily functions and is associated with muscle weakness, reduced immunity, rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, asthma, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, cognitive impairment in the elderly, and increased risk of cancer.
Calcium imbalance resulting from the insufficient absorption of calcium may also lead to disorders associated with calcium deficiency, such as rickets and osteoporosis.
A low level of 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D may point to a kidney disease or could be the first symptom of an impending kidney failure. High levels may indicate a condition that can make this hormone outside the kidney, such as lymphomas and sarcoidosis. It can also happen if there is an excess of the parathyroid hormone.
People with symptoms of any of these disorders (among several others) are at a risk of Vitamin D deficiency and should consider getting a Vitamin D test immediately.
What causes Vitamin D deficiency?
When a person remains cut off from common sources of Vitamin D, it results in a deficiency. Not including milk and leafy vegetables in the diet, lack of exposure to the sun, a dark skin tone, inadequate absorption by the digestive tract, inability of the kidneys to convert ingested Vitamin D forms into their active forms – can all be reasons for a Vitamin D shortage.
What are the forms and sources of Vitamin D?
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D lends itself to body nutrition in two forms: D2 or ergocalciferol, and D3 or cholecalciferol. The former is found in fortified foods such as milk, breakfast cereals, and yoghurt. The latter is mostly produced in the body on exposure to sunlight but is also found in foods such as eggs and some types of fish.
In the body, these two forms are converted into a storable form called 25-hydroxyvitamin D or calcidiol. This is further converted by the kidneys into calcitriol, or 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D.
What is the testing procedure?
Vitamin D level can be found out through a simple blood test that measures the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood. It is used to monitor bone disorders or to check Vitamin D levels in people with chronic illnesses.
What are the remedies?
A healthy diet that includes leafy vegetables, milk, fish, and other Vitamin D-rich food is recommended, along with supplements and exposure to the sun during proper times.
However, intake requirements vary according to age and sex, and one should consult a chart for accurate values.
For accurate, safe tests and approved testing facilities, find your nearest Apollo Diagnostics centre here.