The role of vitamin D for humans

8 min read
The role of vitamin D for humans
Picture: Olga Akinina | Dreamstime

Vitamin D (calciferol) is a fat-soluble compound that plays a role in bone formation. In the human body, it can accumulate in different organs, but its largest amount is found in the liver and subcutaneous adipose tissue.

With insufficient intake of vitamin D, the body begins to use its reserves. If they are depleted and their intake is still insufficient, doctors can diagnose a vitamin D deficiency and prescribe measures to improve the situation.

Benefits of Vitamin D

For the normal functioning of the human body, the presence of vitamin D in sufficient quantities is necessary.

He is responsible for the following processes:

  • full absorption of calcium and phosphorus;
  • support of hormonal levels in a normal state;
  • skin health;
  • disease resistance;
  • blood clotting;
  • correct functioning of the nervous system.

Obtaining a substance occurs with food or it is formed under the action of sunlight. Then calciferol is absorbed into the blood and enters the kidneys, where it combines with calcium ions. As a result, a component is formed that represents the form of vitamin D in which it is able to exert a biological effect on the human body.

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When eating animal products, a person receives vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. D4, or dehydrocholesterol, can be characterized as a substance that precedes D3 – when exposed to sunlight, cholecalciferol is synthesized from it. D4 and D5 can be found in some plants. The most active forms are D2 and D3. The generic name for Vitamin D is calciferol.

In order for the absorption of the substance calciferol to be fully carried out, it is better to ensure that it is obtained together with vegetable fats. Synthetic vitamins are absorbed by the body regardless of the action of bile and fats, so they often bring a greater effect than natural compounds.

What is vitamin D for

A doctor may advise you to buy vitamin D for preventive or therapeutic purposes. Prophylactic use of vitamin D3 helps prevent the development of rickets in children and D3 deficiency in the body in adults.

vitamin D
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Medicinal use is made to support the effectiveness of a comprehensive fight against various diseases, the course of which is accompanied by problems with bone structure and low levels of calcium in the blood.

Vitamin D preparations are indicated for use in such conditions:

  • osteoporosis;
  • fracture or retardation of bone fusion;
  • rickets in children and adults;
  • osteomyelitis;
  • little calcium in the blood;
  • bone softening;
  • tuberculosis;
  • psoriasis;
  • chronic enteritis, pancreatitis;
  • Women have climacteric syndrome.
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For newborns, D3 is prescribed only in selected cases. As a rule, this may be necessary with a short stay of the child in the sun, poor nutrition of the nursing mother.

Vitamin D for Women

To describe the effect of a substance, you can start with what women need it for. The state of the female reproductive system and hormones depends on this substance. With enough of it, women are easier to tolerate physical activity. It is especially important to maintain the level of calciferol in the body during pregnancy, when minerals are consumed in a larger volume.

Dietitian Artur Moiseenko, a specialist with a higher medical education in the field of preventive medicine, comments:

During pregnancy, the need not only for trace elements – proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but also for trace elements and vitamins increases significantly. Considering the fact that heat treatment of food during its preparation can reduce the concentration of vitamins to 80-90%, the question of their additional consumption is always relevant. Vitamin deficiency can lead to various disorders of pregnancy and fetal development.

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Vitamin D is synthesized in the body endogenously, but very often, especially with a lack of sunlight, which is typical for most areas of our country, the majority of the population is diagnosed with its deficiency. Vitamin D is recognized by medical science as a “hormone” because its role in the course of biological processes cannot be overestimated.

It is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in:

  • formation of the immunity of the mother and unborn child;
  • responsible for the health of the skin, hair, nails;
  • takes part in the synthesis of calcium and phosphorus, thereby participating in the formation of the skeleton of the fetus and improves the functioning of the bone marrow.
It should be noted that vitamin D can accumulate in the body, especially when high doses are consumed. Therefore, the use of multivitamin preparations containing vitamin D must be carried out under the supervision of a physician after passing the necessary tests. The doctor also determines the duration of taking such drugs, based on the state of health of the mother, child and the course of pregnancy.
vitamin D
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The content of calciferol affects the health of hair and skin. If a lack of vitamin D begins, the symptoms in women appear precisely from the skin and hairstyles. For women over 40, it is very important to regularly check its level in the body.

Vitamin D for Men

For men, the substance is useful primarily due to its ability to influence the production of testosterone. Its work helps regulate the functioning of the thyroid gland, provides protection to blood vessels and the heart, and reduces the risk of developing diabetes.

Vitamin D after 50

The problem of how to increase calciferol can become especially acute after 50 years. In old age, bones become more fragile, arthritis and rheumatism may develop, and the body’s ability to synthesize substances decreases. By determining which vitamin D is better to buy for an adult and consuming it regularly, you can provide the body with protection against most dangerous diseases.

Vitamin D for children

Vitamin D is just as important for children as it is for adults. The formation of the nervous system and bones occurs more successfully if the body is provided with everything necessary.

It is recommended to take preparations containing calciferol for children who stay at home for a long time without walking, in the absence of a sufficient amount of vitamins in the diet. Long exposure to the street in the summer allows you not to take vitamin D – the sun will provide its formation. Before taking the substance in drops or capsules, you should consult a pediatrician.

Vitamin Excess

Vitamin D is essential for humans. But for people suffering from certain diseases, its intake can be more harmful than a deficiency. An excess of calciferol may be indicated by weight loss, discomfort in the muscles, eyes redden, appetite worsens. Surplus can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
vitamin D
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You should not take supplements with D3 in such conditions:

  • hypercalcemia;
  • active tuberculosis;
  • peptic ulcer;
  • atherosclerosis and ischemia;
  • kidney disease.

If the doctor’s instructions are not followed carefully, an overdose of vitamin D may occur. It is manifested by vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, swelling and fever. If such signs are found, the drug should be discontinued and consult a doctor.

Vitamin D deficiency

If there is a lack of vitamin D, symptoms in adults are observed as follows:

  • chronic fatigue;
  • decreased immunity;
  • skin lesions heal very slowly;
  • depressive state;
  • pain in the joints;
  • hair loss.

In old age, against the background of a lack of calcium, bone loss can begin.

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To more accurately determine the concentration of a substance in the blood, it is recommended to take a blood test for vitamin D. For a referral, you should contact your doctor. It is necessary to hand over the analysis on an empty stomach. The study gives results that allow you to establish how much vitamins D3, D2 are present. Normal levels of these substances should be 10-40 µg/l.

What foods contain Vitamin D

To find out which foods contain Vitamin D and what exactly is best to consume, consult your doctor. The properties of the substance are gradually present in different foods.
vitamin D
Picture: Przemyslaw Ceglarek | Dreamstime

To get calciferol in the highest concentration, you need to reconsider the diet in favor of such products:

  • egg yolks;
  • mushrooms and cereals;
  • fish of some species – mackerel, sardine, salmon, etc.;
  • fish oil;
  • dairy products;
  • beef liver;
  • orange juice.

You can get calciferol for joints and bones by eating certain foods or sunbathing. It is also possible to buy vitamin D at a pharmacy. The doctor may prescribe complex preparations, including cholecalciferol – Solgar, Ultra D vitamin.

Interesting facts

If you need to get more vitamin D – for example, in order to maintain immunity – you can introduce fish oil. One scoop of this product contains 3 daily values. Calciferol should be taken only in winter. Using it during the sunny season can lead to an overdose.

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Sometimes they say that even vitamin D can cause allergies. But most often in such cases we are talking about an allergy to the components of a complex preparation, since calciferol is natural for the human body.


Symptoms that suggest a lack of vitamin D are not always caused by it. Manifestations of health problems may be evidence of other disorders.

Therefore, it is not recommended to independently start taking dietary supplements containing calciferol. The attending physician will prescribe the necessary examinations and, based on their results, decide on the need to take the drug. As a rule, the price of vitamin D is low, so its acquisition does not cause any particular problems.

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