hello and welcome to my Nutrition Blog. My name is Emily Clibourn and I'm a pharmacist here in UK. I'm very excited to tell you today that we will finally be discussing vitamin d there's so much to be said about vitamin d it plays a very important role in the body there is a global burden on public health as to the patients that are deficient in vitamin d it is highly under-diagnosed in many places in UK it's very rarely even tested for here in UK we get very limited levels of sunshine in the winter vitamin d is known as the sunshine vitamin if you are not being exposed to radiation via sunlight your body is likely not able to produce enough vitamin d through dietary sources.
There have been some studies recently about the possible correlation between covid19 and levels of vitamin d in the body. Today I will be discussing the important role that vitamin d can play in our bodies and how it can also affect immune health does that bear some significance when we start speaking about covid19 i'll leave that up to you to decide in future articles so it's important to remember that yes vitamin d is a vitamin but it is fat soluble and when we talk about fat soluble vitamins like vitamins a d e and k. You can get them in supplement form. You can also read this buyer's guide of vitamin d supplement.
These are vitamins that actually can build up in the body they're not just excreted through the kidneys and then through the urine so this type of vitamin can build up to levels that could be toxic or dangerous to us so it's important that you consult a healthcare professional before taking any kind of supplement and that also applies to vitamin d vitamin d is essential for bone health it helps to regulate the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body maintaining adequate levels.
So we can maintain strong and healthy bones many foods are fortified with vitamin d but the amount that they are fortified and the amount that we are actually ingesting is often not enough to keep our vitamin d levels high enough those who live in different polar regions where they do not get as much sunlight such as here in UK are more prone to deficiency vitamin d is produced endogenously by the body our body produces what we call precursors or pro vitamins of vitamin d in the skin when this skin is exposed to sunlight it causes these precursors to undergo a chemical reaction whereas they become activated.
This is a multi-step process and I'm going to outline this here for you here's how vitamin d synthesis occurs the sun emits uv radiation that hits our skin and causes precursors of vitamin d to be activated into the pre-vitamins d3 we also acquire vitamin d2 from dietary sources like dairy products and fish these sources of vitamin d2 and d3 get sent to the liver where groups of enzymes further activate this vitamin the kidneys also play a role in activation of vitamin d and eventually the active form of vitamin d calcitriol is produced we also know that vitamin d is very important for what is called the innate immune response.
This is the general immune response that our body has for different viruses bacteria fungi any other kind of what we call antigen or pathogen that would try to invade the body vitamin d plays a role in that as well incidentally if you have not seen my article about proton pump inhibitors which are certain acid reducers that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach and could also leave you prone to other infection i would encourage you to watch that article the acidity of our stomach is also part of the innate immune response it is a chemical barrier that helps protect us from infection there are two types of vitamin d vitamin d2 which is ergo calciferol and vitamin d3 which is co-calciferol ergocalciferol or vitamin d2 is usually the vitamin d that we get from different foods sources.
So like eggs fish any kind of dairy products that's where we're acquiring vitamin d2 vitamin d3 is the type that we acquire through radiation on our skin from the sun and it's called co-calciferol as i said before vitamin d deficiency is a global problem and it has been for years vitamin d deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide in all age groups low vitamin d status is a problem even in countries with sun exposure all year round and the problem is particularly high in the middle east especially among girls and women there are some other factors that may leave a person predisposed for vitamin d deficiency the use of sunscreen can leave us more predisposed for a vitamin d deficiency.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't use it but some sun exposure is not harmful you should not be out until the point that you're burning your skin but some sun exposure is beneficial and the use of sunscreen does block the effects of the sun to produce vitamin d in the body pollution is also an issue people who live in areas where there is high incident of air pollution or where there is a lot of cloud covering leaves people more disposed to vitamin d deficiency because they are not getting enough radiation on their skin.
So you can see why this is a global problem it's also very important to note that the elderly of our society are very prone to vitamin d deficiency they don't get outside as much their body does not synthesize vitamin d as well and they also often are not having the right dietary intake of vitamin d to get adequate levels think about seniors who are living in long-term care centers and don't get out often enough mobility is an issue these people are particularly prone to vitamin d deficiency there are some very commonly known consequences of vitamin d deficiency that have been observed over history rickets osteoporosis osteomalacia and more recently an immune deficiency that could affect a person's ability to fight off infectious disease.
I will be discussing that more in the future thanks for joining me today i'm glad that we've covered the basics because now in future articles we can get more into the specifics of what has been observed as to the importance of vitamin d in the body how we can ensure that we are maintaining adequate levels of vitamin d in our body and thus maintaining optimal health. I'm very excited about this series if you want to continue to receive more information then bookmark this blog as I will be publishing new article almost ever week. This is my first post I hope I gave you some valuable information.