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Sunday, September 4, 2011

What can Affect Vitamin D Level in Body

Posted by Prahallad Panda on 9:17 AM Comments

Many people, world wide have blood levels of vitamin D below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), the minimum blood level that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends for good bone health. Some, even advocate for a higher level.
20/2.2011 vitamin DImage by julochka via FlickrApart from bone health, Vitamin D is now thought to have beneficial effect on people having asthma, diabetes, cancer of breast, cancer of ovary; and can boost immunity to fight infections.

Figuring out what can affect the blood level of vitamin D can be a difficult task. Natural source of vitamin D level is limited to a few foods like eggs, fish oil and green chillies; but the largest source is the ultraviolet B rays from sun that helps in its synthesis in the skin. Some food stuffs are being fortified with vitamin D to supplement the deficiency. The recommended daily dose is 800 IU of vitamin D 3 per day.
Vitamin D is produced by the body in a complex process that involves ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, the liver, and then the kidneys; after which the active form of vitamin D becomes available to body.
Many factors can influence a person’s vitamin D level. Some of those interesting factors are;
  • The latitude where one lives; The higher is the latitudes, the less is the UVB light that can reach the surface of earth. It further decreases in the winter season because of the low angle of the sun.
  • Air pollution; Carbon particulates in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, wood and other materials; scatter and absorb UVB rays.
  • Use of sunscreen; Sunscreen, if applied in in correct manner can block UVB light, But, practically very few people put on enough sunscreen or use sunscreen regularly to block all UVB light.
  • The color of skin; Melanin is the pigment substance in the skin cells that makes it appear dark and filters UVB rays; significantly seen in tropical countries. As a result, dark-skinned people tend to require more UVB exposure than light-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D.
  • The temperature skin. Warm skin is a more efficient producer of vitamin D than cool skin. So, on a sunny, hot summer days, one can make more vitamin D than on a cool one.
  • Age; Compared with younger people, older people are less efficient vitamin D producers.
  • The health of gut; The vitamin D that is consumed in food or as a supplement is absorbed from the small intestine, the integrity of the absorbing surface of which is important. That is why, conditions like celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, and cystic fibrosis, can reduce vitamin D absorption.
  • The health of liver and kidneys; Some types of liver disease can reduce absorption of vitamin D and some other types, can not complete the steps essential to vitamin D metabolism. Health of the kidneys are to be sound to convert the vitamin D to its active form, so in kidney diseases, bioactive vitamin D levels decreases; and in end-stage kidney disease, the level is undetectable.
  • Life style; People having jobs that force them to stay indoors having less chance of exposure to sun may not effectively produce adequate amount of vitamin D.
About 20 to 30 minutes of daily exposure to intense sun during 11 AM to 3 PM with uncovered limbs may be sufficient to produce adequate amount of vitamin D; of course for whom there is no medical contra-indication for such exposure to sun.
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