Essay about the Role of Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are very important micronutrients for the body. Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth, while vitamin D helps in proper absorption of calcium in the body. They both work together to protect our bones and teeth. So, it is very important to take the proper amounts of calcium and vitamin D in the diet. The recommended amount of calcium intake is 1000 mg per day for women aged 50 and younger, and 1200 mg per day for those over 50. If calcium and vitamin D are not taken in proper amount, then their deficiency can cause various health problems. Deficiency of calcium can cause osteoporosis, which means bones become porous and chances of fracture increase. Vitamin D deficiency can cause leishmaniasis, rickets in children and many more. But these diseases can be treated by taking the proper amount of these nutrients in our diet. The rich source of calcium is milk and the source of vitamin D is sunlight. These sources and many others can be included in the diet. Some people are not aware of the functions of nutrients, so they do not care about taking a properly balanced diet. These nutrients are important for children because they need them to build their proper bones, and teeth and these also need in later life to maintain proper functioning of bones. So, these nutrients always are taken in proper amount of diet.
Calcium is a very important mineral that is found in many foods and milk. It is very necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also important for many other functions in our bodies. A small amount of calcium is required in blood serum for muscle contraction, mediation of hormonal response, blood clotting, nerve excitability and the activity of some enzymes (O’Brien et al., 1998). So, it is required in the proper amount in the diet. People of young age including males and females should take approximately 1000 mg of calcium per day, and people who are above 65 should take 1500 mg calcium per day. As in old age the bones become weak, so the calcium is required in more amounts to make those bones strong. Insufficient dietary calcium is one of the possible risk factors for osteoporosis and hence for fractures (Pinn, 1991; Brink et al., 1993). The rich source of calcium is milk which is recommended in day-to-day life to stay healthy. Also, calcium in milk is better absorbed by the body than in plant foods, due to the presence of substances like oxalate, phytate and fiber in plant food, which bind calcium thereby rendering it less absorbable (Kelsay et al., 1979).
A study was taken regarding the declining intake of calcium from foods by adolescent females in the University of Benin at Nigerian to figure out problems associated with calcium and vitamin D deficiency. The study was conducted at 500 female students and they were various questions regarding their eating preferences and number of times they take milk in their diet and other fast foods. The result was that less than 40% of females drink milk daily, and 33% consumed occasionally, and the rest drink weekly or monthly, or not at all. Most of the females were liked to have soft drinks and other foods, but very unlikely to take yogurt and cheese. The majority of females did not take vitamin D supplements, and 6% of them take calcium supplements, while 40% take them occasionally. The main reason was identified that the females in adolescents did not know the importance of milk at all. Studies have shown how important it is for adolescent females to take plenty of calcium in their diets in order to avoid osteoporosis later in life (Bellantoni, 1996; Ben-Ari, 1997). So, it is very necessary to every day took calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, nuts, etc. For individuals who do not consume dairy products, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli or kale provide less calcium than milk but are also important sources (Dunford, 2002). To conclude this study was helpful in encouraging various female students to take regular calcium in their diet and also making them understand regarding various concerns of calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Although the deficiency can be treated by taking supplements, study helps them to recognize the need of proper amounts of these nutrients in food and for females who do not take cheese and milk due to fat consciousness, low-fat milk yogurt and cheese should be recommended.
Calcium is an important macronutrient for bone health and its deficiency can cause osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that is characterized by a reduction in bone mass per unit volume (Gaw et al., 1997). The bones become fragile and porous and risk of fracture is increased due to deficiency of calcium. The average recommended calcium intake per day is 1500 mg. The proper diet having a balanced amount of calcium and vitamin D is required for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. The women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men because they have smaller and thinner bones than man, and this is also more common in people having too low or too high amounts of certain hormones in the body, such as sex hormones. The reduction of estrogen levels in women at menopause is one of the strongest risk factors for developing osteoporosis. When people are young, they have more ability to made new bones break old ones, but after the age of late 20 and early 30 this ability decreases, and that is the reason more calcium is needed in older age than at young age to make a protective tissue around their bones and teeth. Osteoporosis is a disease like poliomyelitis in that it is far better prevented than treated, because of inherently irreversible cycle of fracture to recover up (Heaney, 1986). Calcium is not a form of therapy, but it is an essential component that should be taken regularly. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and improves the function of bones. So, in order to treat osteoporosis a calcium-rich food and supplements are recommended. The women having age 50 and younger should take 1000 mg of calcium per day, and for those who are above 50 this amount is 1200 mg per day. For men this amount is 1000 mg per day who are 70 and younger, and 1200 mg per day for those who are above 70. In osteoporosis a diet should be taken that has low salt and enough calcium and vitamin D.
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids that is important for the absorption of calcium, phosphate, magnesium and other biological molecules in our body and its deficiency can cause rickets in children and leishmaniasis. Also, vitamin D has been shown to elicit different functions such as differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. On the other hand, leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that is caused by a parasite named Leishmania and is normally spread by infected sand flies. This is a kind of infection so it can easily be transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person via blood transfusion and sharing of items. In humans the Leishmania parasite only affects tissues of major organs like liver, spleen and bone marrow. Leishmaniasis mainly found in three forms in humans – cutaneous, visceral and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, and there are several parasites associated with each type. Cutaneous is the most common of leishmaniasis and causes ulcers on the skin which can further become very dangerous and even can damage the skin. The infection of the skin with the Leishmania parasite results in extensive remodeling of tissue and CL is associated with chronic skin inflammation (Grimaldi and Tesh, 1993; Reithinger et al., 2007). On the other hand, mucocutaneous is a very rare form. It occurs after several months of cutaneous leishmaniasis and can lead to the complete destruction of mucosal membranes in the body. The third type visceral leishmaniasis is also known as kala-azar, and it largely affects major organs such as liver, spleen and bone marrow. People who have a weak immune system are more likely to have this form of leishmaniasis. So, it is very important to take proper diet to stay healthier and develop a better immune system so that the body will become able to fight with different kinds of diseases.
As the symptoms of this disease appear after a long time, then it is mandatory to have a good immune system to fight with parasites and killing them, because once they enter the host cell, then they increase very rapidly and reach their peak to damage our body. There have been several pieces of researches made regarding the role of vitamin D in leishmania infection by taking different kinds of parasites. Regarding control, cathelicidin is a molecule that possesses antimicrobial properties against fungi, bacteria, microbes and parasites and vitamin D indirectly stimulates the production of cathelicidin in the body for a better immune system. So, cathelicidin can cause the death of parasite due to antimicrobial properties. In this way vitamin D can control leishmania infection. The vitamin D is present in sunlight so, the sun is a rich source of vitamin D and exposure to sunlight may have a favorable effect on skin and can kill leishmania. However, it has been shown that generalized nutritional deficiencies are related to an increases risk for the most severe forms of leishmaniasis (Kumar et al., 2014).
To conclude, a properly balanced diet is a key to stay healthy and it also works as a defense mechanism in the prevention of diseases. Vitamin D plays a role in the control of leishmania infection so it is very necessary to take diet having proper amounts of calcium and vitamin D in order to stay healthy and also strong bones and teeth.
Summarizing the above information, calcium and vitamin D are very important trace elements for the human body. They are extremely important for the health of bones and teeth. I believe that in order to prevent the occurrence of diseases associated with the deficiency of these microelements, everyone should control their diet, try to consume the right amount of foods rich in them.
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