Status of Vitamin D and its correlation with Diabetes in North Gujarat, India
Keywords:Fat soluble vitamin, Secosteroid, Cholecalciferol, Ergosterol, Sunlight, Calcitriol, Rickets
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, and many other biological effects. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). The major natural source of the vitamin is synthesis of cholecalciferol in the lower layers of skin epidermis through a chemical reaction that is dependent on sun exposure (specifically UVB radiation). Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be ingested from the diet and from supplements. Only a few foods, such as the flesh of fatty fish, naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D. In the U.S. and other countries, cow's milk and plant-derived milk substitutes are fortified with vitamin D, as are many breakfast cereals. Mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light contribute useful amounts of vitamin D. Dietary recommendations typically assume that all of a person's vitamin D is taken by mouth, as sun exposure in the population is variable and recommendations about the amount of sun exposure that is safe are uncertain in view of the skin cancer risk. Vitamin D from the diet, or from skin synthesis, is biologically inactive. It is activated by two protein enzyme hydroxylation steps, the first in the liver and the second in the kidneys. As vitamin D can be synthesized in adequate amounts by most mammals if exposed to sufficient sunlight, it is not essential, so technically not a vitamin. Instead, it can be considered a hormone, with activation of the vitamin D pro-hormone resulting in the active form, calcitriol, which then produces effects via a nuclear receptor in multiple locations.
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