Vitamin D is a godsend, but is your body absorbing it well? 7 things that can hinder your vitamin D absorption.

Published on: 23 April 2022, 12:45 pm IST
Aayushi Gupta
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vitamin d absorption
Your body must be able to absorb Vitamin D properly to make the most of it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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If you’re deficient in vitamin D, your body can welcome many diseases including increasing the risk of Covid-19, according to a study from Leumit Health Services (LHS) and Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar IIan University in Israel. It happens because, be it being in shape, or boosting immunity, vitamin D aka sunshine is a boon! And that’s what makes us all dependent on it. But just soaking up the sun may not be enough, you need to make sure your body is absorbing the vitamin D you’re delivering to it. No, we’re not kidding! According to an expert, there are many factors which can block vitamin D absorption in your body.

If that’s true and your body is not absorbing vitamin D properly, you will experience these symptoms:

* Severe fatigue and constant lethargy
* Pain in your bones and joints
* Mood swings, changes like stress, anxiety, and depression
* Muscles weakness, muscle pain, and cramps
* Kidney and liver issues are also an indicator of vitamin D deficiency

Keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency so that on time you can up your intake and come back on track.

vitamin D absorption
Vitamin D deficiency and health issues go hand in hand. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dr Swathi Reddy (PT), Consultant Physiotherapist and certified diet counselor and MIAP, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru, spoke to Health Shots about the vitamin D deficiency causes and the factors that can block the absorption.

Dr Reddy says, “Vitamin D is extremely essential as it helps your body absorb calcium, fight infection, and also helps your muscles work properly. The best source of vitamin D is sun exposure, but usually, people do not spend enough time in the sun to get adequate amounts of vitamin D, therefore it is recommended to supplement it with food as well.”

What blocks the absorption of vitamin D?

There may be certain conditions and things that affect your ability to absorb vitamin D. Figuring out what factors are affecting your vitamin D absorption capacity can help you take the right treatment to solve the issue.

Here’s what makes vitamin D absorption difficult, according to Dr Reddy:

1. Poor gut health

Vitamin D that you get from food items or supplements is absorbed in the part of the small intestine which is immediately downstream from your stomach. The absorption of vitamin D depends on the stomach juices released, bile from the liver, secretions from the pancreas, the integrity of the wall of the intestine, etc. When these factors are affected due to health conditions like celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, and cystic fibrosis, your vitamin D absorption reduces.

2. Liver issues

Vitamin D deficiency is quite common in patients with liver diseases. Even if a person suffers from a mild liver condition, they will have some degree of vitamin D insufficiency. Patients with liver cirrhosis can suffer from severe deficiency.

vitamin D absorption
A healthy liver will help you lead a happy life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Kidney issues

The kidneys play a crucial role in ensuring the proper absorption of vitamin D for the body. If a person suffers from kidney disease, there is a high chance their vitamin D levels will be low. Injured kidneys will not be able to convert enough vitamin D into its active form calcitriol, which is used throughout the body.

4. Increased intake of caffeine

You may not be able to function without your daily cups of coffee, but it is important to know that increased intake of caffeine could interfere with your body’s ability to absorb vitamin D. Consume coffee or other food items that contain caffeine in moderation to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

Also, read: 5 horrible things that happen to your body when you don’t get enough vitamin D

5. Body Mass Index over 29

Obese or overweight people need more vitamin D. in fact, vitamin D deficiency is one of the factors behind weight gain. In this case, where people are obese, their subcutaneous fat traps vitamin D, restricting its absorption. To uplift your vitamin D intake, spend time in the sunlight, and consume supplements and vitamin D-rich foods.

vitamin D absorption
Being overweight doesn’t always mean your fitness levels are low. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Weight-loss treatment

Radiation treatment and weight-loss surgeries such as bariatric surgery expose obese people to multiple nutritional deficiencies including vitamin D by restricting vitamin D absorption.

Also, read: Overweight women may need more vitamin D. Here’s why

7. Drugs

Drugs such as oral steroids and diuretics also limit the absorption of vitamin D in the body.

If you’re deficient in vitamin D, you should avoid the consumption of certain foods because they can also make vitamin D absorption difficult or impossible in your body.

Foods you should avoid if you have vitamin D deficiency

* Oily or fried foods
* Sour items such as pickles and chutneys
* Fast foods
* Cold items such as ice cream and cold drinks

vitamin D absorption
Can’t get enough sun exposure? Make these your go-to foods for vitamin D! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Consume these foods to boost your vitamin D intake and absorption

* Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and oysters
* Egg yolks
* Mushrooms
* Cod liver oil
* Yogurt or curd
* Cheese

Moreover, spend at least 10-15 minutes a day in the sunlight!

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.

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