Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Polarised light micrograph graphic of crystals of vitamin D3, one of the d-group vitamins which is also known as cholecalciferol. Vitamin D is present in oily fish (sardines, herring, tuna), liver and egg yolk. It is also produced by the body after exposure of the skin to sunlight. Vitamin D plays several vital roles in the body, helping to regulate calcium and phosphate balance and is essential for strong bones and teeth. Deficiency of this vitamin leads to rickets in children by interfering with calcium uptake during the formation of bone. In elderly people a vitamin D deficiency produces osteo- malacia, a softening of the bones.
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