Cholecalciferol, also called vitamin D-3, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for the maintenance of a healthy body. Your body makes cholecalciferol when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun, according to MayoClinic.com. You also can obtain cholecalciferol from fortified foods and vitamin supplements. Cholecalciferol has several benefits.
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Cholecalciferol is important for the absorption of calcium and phosphorous from the stomach and proper functioning of the minerals. Calcium and phosphorous help maintain strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D deficiency can cause low levels of calcium and phosphorous in the body, which can lead to weak bones and dental problems.
Cholecalciferol Deficiency Diseases
Prolonged cholecalciferol deficiency can lead to rickets and osteomalacia. Rickets, a disease that affects children, is characterized by symptoms such as loss of muscle strength, bone pain, stunted growth and skeletal and dental deformities. Osteomalacia affects adults and causes weak bones and muscles, bone pain and fractures, according to PubMed Health.
Cholecalciferol supplements slow bone loss and reduce fractures in patients with osteoporosis. If the blood levels of calcium and phosphorous become too low, your body releases parathyroid hormones to reabsorb the minerals from your bones. This leads to brittle and fragile bones, which are more prone to fractures, even without injury.
Sources of Cholecalciferol
Cholecalciferol is added to foods such as milk, fortified breakfast cereals, margarine and cod liver oil. You also can obtain the body's requirement for cholecalciferol from sunlight exposure for 15 minutes three times a week, according to MedlinePlus. If you are unable to eat foods rich in cholecalciferol, obtain the vitamin from supplements. Consult your doctor before taking over-the-counter cholecalciferol supplements.