Vitamin D and women’s health


Vitamin D deficiency is very common in society. Approximately 20% to 100% of western populations have vitamin D deficiency. Since vitamin D plays an important role in calcium, phosphorus and bone metabolism, its deficiency causes bone diseases such as bone deformities, rickets and osteoporosis due to insufficient bone mineralization. Sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D. However, in recent years, preservatives used to protect against the harmful effects of the sun reduce the synthesis of vitamin D from sunlight and cause vitamin D deficiency.

Although vitamin D deficiency has effects on the skeletal system, especially on bone metabolism, it has been found that it has many positive effects on other systems and diseases, thanks to studies conducted in recent years.

Vitamin D deficiency and obesity are closely related. Vitamin D has an important role in the nutrients that regulate body weight. It has been shown in some scientific studies that vitamin D intake causes weight loss of 1.5-3.5 kg.

One of the most important effects of Vitamin D is that it is good for Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Vitamin D prevents this situation and prevents the emergence and progression of diabetes in Type II Diabetes, which is caused by the inability of insulin to affect the tissues as a result of insulin resistance in the body, which is often seen with aging. When vitamin D is above 25 ng/ml in the blood, the risk of diabetes is reduced by 43%. A daily intake of 500 units of vitamin D is recommended.

Vitamin D deficiency can have important consequences during pregnancy and lactation. The pregnant woman’s need for calcium and vitamin D is increased. Especially in the last 3 months of pregnancy, vitamin D intake is extremely important for both maternal and infant bone development. Vitamin blood level should be 32 ng/ml during pregnancy. Vitamin D deficiency was observed in 50% of pregnant women and 56% of breastfed babies. Some diseases seen during pregnancy and lactation, such as preeclampsia, low birth weight infants, neonatal tetany, postnatal maldevelopmental baby syndromes, increased fragility of bones in infants, and an increase in the likelihood of some autoimmune diseases are the conditions frequently seen in vitamin D deficiency. In addition, it has been discovered by studies in recent years that vitamin D has an extremely important function in the development of infant brain functions. It has been reported that the neuropsychological development of infants who receive sufficient vitamin D is excellent in the future.
One of the most important effects of Vitamin D is on calcifications on the vessel wall. It has been suggested that, as a result of some mixed mechanisms, vitamin D can prevent these calcifications in the vessel walls. It is used especially in chronic kidney diseases that occur due to this. Similarly, it is claimed that vitamin D prevents calcification in coronary heart diseases, and it has been claimed in various scientific articles that it has positive effects on heart functions and provides regulation in patients with hypertension.

Vitamin D also has a positive effect on the development of breast cancer, which is the fearful dream of women. Vitamin D receptors were found to be low in cells in women with breast cancer. In women with these receptors, vitamin D acts by binding and some of its metabolites have been shown to protect women from breast cancer by suppressing the growth of tumor cells.

It has been scientifically shown that the anticancer effect of especially the use of Vitamin D and Omega-3 together is very strong. Both agents have been shown to be protective against cancer due to their anti-inflammatory, pro-apoptotic, anti-angiogenic and anti-proliferative effects.
Vitamin D, which acts through the vitamin D receptors in the keratinocyte cells in our skin, can cause proliferation of the epidermis (thickening of the skin), hair loss and baldness due to the loss of hair follicles. Vitamin D also prevents the formation of skin tumors.

It has been shown that vitamin D deficiency causes schizophrenia at an early age, and a decrease in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, depression and cognitive functions in advanced ages. Vitamin D regulates the production and release of neurotransmitters that provide important brain functions. The most important and well-known of these is Dopamine. Dopamine decreases in the brain in vitamin D deficiency.
Finally, since the mechanism of action of Vitamin D in cells and the effect of the estrogen hormone in women share common features, its use alone or in combination with estrogen therapy is becoming more common in the treatment or treatment of some complaints that can be seen after menopause.

There are many diagnostic methods for diagnosing vitamin D deficiency or deficiency. 25 hydroxyvitamin D should be measured in the blood as the most reliable. This value should not be below 20 ng/ml. It should preferably be above 30 ng/ml.

There are some recommendations of the American Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism against vitamin D deficiency. Babies 0 to 1 year old should get 400 units of vitamin D per day. Between the ages of 1-18, 400-600 units of vitamin D should be taken daily. 600 units of vitamin D should be taken between the ages of 19-50 and 600-800 units between the ages of 50-70. Pregnant and lactating women should take 1500-2000 units of vitamin D per day.

Prof.Dr.C.Tamer Erel
İ.Ü. Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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