“Vitamin D” is an all-inclusive term that refers to all the many forms of this vitamin. The two Vitamin D forms important to human beings are ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3). Among them, Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants where as Vitamin D3 is synthesized by the human skin. Human synthesis of Vitamin D3 takes place only in the presence of ultra violet radiation of the sun.
The major dietary sources of Vitamin D are fish, eggs, cod liver oil and fortified milk. Sunlight also plays a decisive role in the everyday production of this vitamin. Even a ten-minute exposure to sunlight is said to produce enough quantities of Vitamin D so as to prevent its deficiency in the body. In kids, the deficiency of Vitamin D leads to Rickets and in grown-ups it causes osteomalacia Rickets is characterised by skeletal deformities where as osteomalacia weakens the bones and muscles in adults.
Vitamin D effectively regulates the level of calcium and phosphorous in the blood. It also plays a major role in the absorption of calcium and thereby strengthens the bones. It ensures a healthy immune system and also protects from irregularities caused by high blood pressure. Latest news from research circles indicates that the list of Vitamin D benefits has got stretched further. Studies on rats have provided the first believable evidence that activated treatment using Vitamin D can check heart failure. Treatment with Vitamin D prevents hypertrophy, which is the situation in which muscle cells of the heart get bigger. As a result of hypertrophy, the heart gets bloated and fails to function properly. The Vitamin D treatment will prevent the muscle cells of the heart from getting over-stimulated. The studies in this regard where motivated by the fact that many elderly people who became victims of heart failure were deficient in Vitamin D.