Essay Preview: Hypovitaminosis D
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Hypovitaminosis D is a deficiency of Vitamin D. This deficiency can result from inadequate nutritional intake of vitamin D combined with inadequate sunlight exposure–especially lack of expose to sunlight with adequate UVB.
As well, there are some disorders that limit vitamin D absorption, and conditions that impair the conversion of vitamin D into active metabolites including certain liver, kidney, and hereditary disorders. Deficiency results in impaired bone mineralization and leads to bone softening diseases osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults. Studies have shown that this is especially problematic in post-menopausal women.
As one ages, ones bodies slowly lose the ability to mobilize vitamin D, a process that lowers the calcium absorption rates. This creates a higher risk of osteoporosis, particularly in post-menopausal women.
Although researchers are not sure how sex hormones affect vitamin D conversion, but women seem to have a harder time stimulating the mechanism that builds bone tissue when their estrogen levels are reduced.
Calcium is clearly an important co-factor to vitamin D, and post-menopausal women may lose efficacy if vitamin D is deficient or estrogen levels are low. Therefore, it appears that vitamin D is a more critical factor in bone health. A recent study by scientists at the University of Massachusetts found that a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help control some symptoms of PMS, such as tearfulness, anxiety, and irritability.
Researchers note that there is still a lot more information that needs to be gathered before we have empirical evidence of the factors that affect the way a post-menopausal womans body uses Vitamin D. No one knows for sure, but it is more evidence that all the systems of the body are connected and we cannot look for easy answers in one place.