Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Have we all not heard about the importance of vitamins and calcium?
Ever since childhood we are advised on having nutrient rich foods that are good for us but how many us really know about the significance of these amazingly essential nutrients.
Our body needs several nutrients to function properly, some of the major ones being vitamins and calcium as they play such a critical role in the natural growth and functioning of the body. Vitamins are crucial to the wear and tear of our body and has a significant impact on our overall body functions like metabolism, immunity and digestion. Calcium is literally the backbone of our body and has a key role in bone health.
Let us discuss about these incredible nutrients and the role they play in our survival.
Vitamins: What Are They?
There are 13 essential vitamins including A, D, E, K, and B and can be divided into two main categories:
- Fat Soluble: These include vitamin A, D, E, K, which are stored in the fat tissue and liver
- Water Soluble: These include Vitamin B and C, which are not stored in the body like fat soluble
Focusing on the recommended intake of this vitamin can help in maintaining the proper functioning and health of the body. The important micro nutrients that are required for the proper growth and development are vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.
Vitamin B12 is a vital vitamin that helps in:
- maintaining healthy nerve cells
- production of DNA and RNA the body’s genetic material
- works closely with Vitamin B9 and aids in making the red blood cell
- helps iron work better in the body
Vitamin D famously known as the sunshine vitamin is one of the vital nutrients required to stay healthy, the primary functions include:
- Maintaining healthy bone and teeth
- Aids in diabetes management by controlling the insulin level in the body
- Helps in cardiovascular functions
- Helps in boosting immune and nervous system
Our bone contains almost 99.5% of the total calcium in the body. Calcium helps the body:
- Develop healthy bones and teeth
- Helps control blood pressure levels
- Aids blood clotting
- Plays a key role in cell signalling and nerve functions
Signs of low Vitamins and Calcium levels in the body
Knowing the symptoms is absolutely necessary to identify the deficiency our body is suffering from. Below is a list of symptoms of vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium deficiencies.
Vitamin B -12
The typical symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal walking in elders
- Memory loss
- Decreased reflexes
- Hearing problems
- Abnormal growth in children
- Very low levels can cause permanent neurological damage
Source: The common source of Vitamin B12 is eggs, meat, fish and is present in some cereals.
A deficiency of vitamin D include:
- Osteomalacia in adults
- Rickets in children
- Bone fractures
- Softening of the bones
- Muscular degeneration of the eyes, breast, prostate cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure
Source: The common source of Vitamin D-12 includes fatty fish, egg yolks, liver and fortified milk. Vitamin D-3 is obtained from sunlight.
The common calcium deficiency symptoms include:
- Muscle cramps
- Poor appetite
- Brittle nails
- Decrease in appetite
- Tooth decay
Source: Some of the common sources of calcium are dairy products like milk, yogurt cheese, cereals, fortified grains etc.
Importance of keeping a check on Vitamins and Calcium Levels
Our digestive system requires vitamins as they all play an essential role in the digestive health. We need the vitamins and calcium in our diets, as our bodies can’t synthesize them quickly enough to meet our daily needs. Lack of vitamins and calcium can create or exacerbate chronic health conditions.
Hence keeping vitamin and calcium levels in check means keeping chronic health conditions at bay. Vitamin and calcium deficiency is mainly caused due to poor dietary intake or illness.
How to keep a track of vitamins and calcium levels?
A vitamin plus package includes the important micronutrients; vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium. One can keep track of vitamin and calcium levels by getting tested. The vitamin plus package helps in monitoring any ongoing infection or deficiency in the body and diagnoses a clear picture of body’s health.
Vitamin Package test results indicates:
Normal range: 20-55ng/ml
Vitamin D insufficiency: It is serum 25(OH)D level of 21-29 ng/ml
Vitamin D deficiency: It is serum 25(OH)D level less than 20 ng/ml
Vitamin D toxicity: When the serum 25(OH)D levels are more than 150 ng/ml
Normal range: Between 200-600 pg/mL
Low levels of Vitamin B12: It is below 150 pg/mL:
High levels of Vitamin B12: It is higher than 800 pg/mL.
Normal levels in adults: 4.64 to 5.28 mg/dL
Normal levels in children: 4.8 to 5.52 mg/dL
How frequently is the test required?
A vitamin plus package includes Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Calcium is required depending on the cause and levels of vitamins and calcium in the body. Although it is highly advised to get tested on a regular basis as one needs to be aware of the deficiencies.
A vitamin plus package helps you stay a step ahead of health problems and early diagnosis of the problem will aid in early treatment and healthier life.
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