Posted By: CustomVite Nutrition Team Date: November 26, 2018 Comments: 0
You may know that vitamin D is important for your health, but did you know there is mounting evidence suggesting a vitamin D deficiency can result in conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease? A vitamin D deficiency may even contribute to the development of some cancers, such as breast, prostate, and colon cancer. In fact, current research indicates that a vitamin D deficiency is related to seventeen varieties of different cancers as well as heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases, birth defects, and periodontal disease. Unfortunately, close to 42% of the adult population in the U.S. have low vitamin D levels. But why are so many of us low in vitamin D? The primary causes of vitamin D deficiency is not getting enough sunlight. Vitamin D is produced by our skin, upon exposure to sunlight. During the winter, when there is less daylight and more time spent indoors, our exposure to sunlight is limited which severely affects the amount of vitamin D our skin produces. A vitamin D deficiency can also result from an inability to absorb the vitamin itself. Certain groups may be more prone to a deficiency:
- Older adults
- Those with conditions affecting fat absorption
- Those who adhere to a strict vegan diet
- Those who have undergone gastric-bypass surgery
- Those taking certain prescription medications such as steroids
- Those with dark colored skin
The major symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can include chronic fatigue and exhaustion, mood swings, depression, back pain, bone ailments, muscle discomfort/weakness and hair loss. But some people may not have any symptoms at all and still be deficient. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, the only way to know for sure if you’re deficient is to have a blood test measuring your 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels. A vitamin D deficiency is defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≤20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). If your doctor does determine you are deficient, there are some easy ways to remedy the situation:
- Sunlight Exposure: Spending 30-60 minutes per week in the sunshine can provide your body with all the vitamin D it needs, so get outside when you can.
- Dietary Changes: Adding foods such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel) and fish liver oils, beef liver, fortified milk, cheese and egg yolks can boost your intake, however it can be difficult to obtain enough through diet alone.
- Supplements: Vitamin D supplements can help meet your needs (and you avoid the risk of skin cancer with UV rays). Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, taking vitamin D supplements with meals and snacks that contain some healthy fats can help ensure optimal absorption.
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(2) Forrest, K. Y., & Stuhldreher, W. L. (2011). Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults. Nutrition Research, 31(1), 48-54. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.12.001
(3) Holick, M. F., & Chen, T. C. (2008). Vitamin D deficiency: A worldwide problem with health consequences. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(4). doi:10.1093/ajcn/87.4.1080s
(4) Naeem, Z. Dr. MBBS, MCPS, DPH, FCPS, Professor (2010). Vitamin D Deficiency- An Ignored Epidemic. Int J Health Sci (Qassim)., 4(1), V-VI. Retrieved November 8, 2018.