Vitamin D And Melatonin
The functions of Vitamin D and melatonin are contrary to each other. Although both are individually essential for the body but one commences it action when the other ceases to act. It is a well known fact that Vitamin D is best obtained through exposure to the sun. This nutrient is present in certain foods, but human beings tend to derive it in maximum proportions from the sunlight. For this very reason, it is also referred to as the sunshine vitamin.
This vitamin is known to be having a large influence on one’s temperament and also the levels of energy and fatigue. A level less than 50 nanograms per milliliter of the vitamin symbolizes a deficiency in the body, thereby resulting in decreased energy levels, severe tiredness and depression. Research also highlights that the interaction between Vitamin D and certain hormones associated with energy can help in elevating the energy level in the body, provided the vitamin is present in sufficient amounts.
It has been further noticed that deficiency of Vitamin D could lead to fatigue on interaction with a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep aiding hormone generated by the pineal gland. This hormone plays an extremely vital role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm. The secretions of melatonin are regulated by the condition of light. While darkness stimulates the release of this hormone facilitating sleep; brighter light conditions inhibit its production resulting in the arousal of the individual. Melatonin is also observed to have a correlation with insomnia, temperamental changes and hunger pangs. Since the presence of Vitamin D and melatonin are both connected with light conditions, it has been established that the level of the vitamin is inversely proportional to that of melatonin in the body.
While sunlight initiates the release of Vitamin D, it causes a drop in the level of melatonin produced by the pineal gland. For this very reason, doctors suggest exposure to sunlight as a natural remedy for jet lag. The winters generally create a deficiency of Vitamin D in the human body owing to lesser availability of sun exposure. This in turn enhances the level of melatonin, thereby resulting in tiredness, drowsiness and depression. All these symptoms together characterize the condition of seasonal affective disorder that primarily occurs during the fall and winter seasons.
Vitamin D can also be obtained from foods like milk, eggs, cereals, bread and fish. With the increase in age, the intake of the vitamin as suggested by the National Institutes of Health varies. While for the first 12 months, the human body requires an intake of 400 IU of the vitamin on a daily basis; the dosage should be 600 IU per day for those between the ages of 1 and 70 years. The requirement of the body further increases after the age of 70, which is 800 IU everyday.
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