Vitamin D deficiency can be behind a large number of conditions that people experience without being able to find an accurate diagnosis.
Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you might think. In fact, it is so common that The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition It called it a problem on a global scale that is recognized as a pandemic.
Also, a study conducted in the UK showed that more than half of UK adults do not have enough vitamin D, and in the winter and spring 1 in 6 people are severely deficient in vitamin D.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important for general good health and plays an important role in ensuring our muscles, heart, lungs, and brain function as well. Our body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight.
You can also get vitamin D from supplements, and a very small amount comes from foods we eat, such as some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, cereals, and grain products.
What makes vitamin D unique compared to other vitamins is that your body can make its own vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, whereas you need to get other vitamins from the foods you eat.
How long do you need to spend in the sun to get enough vitamin D?
Finding out how long to stay in the sun in order to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D can be very complicated and is different for everyone, therefore there is not one recommendation for everyone.
The reason for this is that the amount of time you need to spend in the sun for your skin to produce enough vitamin D depends on a number of factors, such as how dark your skin is or how easily you can get a tan for yourself. the sun, the thickness of the ozone layer, the time of year and the time of day.
It is believed that a short daily period of sun exposure without sun protection (about 10-15 minutes for lighter-skinned people) during the summer months is enough for most people to make enough vitamin D.
Evidence suggests that the most effective time of day for vitamin D production is 11 am to 3 pm. The larger the area of skin that is exposed to sunlight, the more likely it is to make enough vitamin D before you start burning.
The most common causes of vitamin D deficiency
Limited exposure to sunlight – Some of us live in the northern latitudes, wear long clothes, or have work that takes place mainly indoors. Also, sunscreen inhibits the production of vitamin D.
People with dark skin have higher levels of melanin, and this pigment reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
Kidney and liver function
These organs play an important role in converting vitamin D to its active form, so kidney or liver disease can reduce the ability of these organs to create the biologically active form of vitamin D in the body.
Strict vegetarian diet
Food sources that contain vitamin D are mostly animal based, for example, fish and fish oils, egg yolk, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver.
Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can reduce the intestine’s ability to absorb vitamin D from food.
Obesity can cause low vitamin D levels. Research suggests that vitamin D can become ‘trapped’ within fatty tissue, thus less of it is available in our bloodstream.
Diseases related to vitamin D deficiency
Researchers are still working to fully understand how vitamin D works in our bodies and how it affects our overall health, but it is believed that there is a link between vitamin D deficiency in a number of ailments and health problems:
An adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D are important for maintaining bone density and strength. Vitamin D deficiency causes the bones to become depleted of calcium, which further weakens the bones and increases the risk of fractures.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to lower lung functions and controlling asthma is more difficult, especially in children. The vitamin D can improve control of asthma by blocking proteins that cause inflammation in the lung, as well as increased production of another protein that has anti – inflammatory effects.
3. Heart health
Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), as well as an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin D deficiency has been found to be associated with inflammation, a negative response from the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and type 1 diabetes.
Vitamin D regulates cholesterol levels in the blood: it has been shown that without adequate sun exposure, precursors of vitamin D become cholesterol instead of vitamin D.
Studies show that children who had lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to have multiple food allergies.
Some studies showed a link between a lack of vitamin D and common respiratory infections, indicating that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D report having significantly more cases of colds and flu than those with the highest levels.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression: receptors for vitamin D are present in many areas of the brain and are involved in numerous brain processes, so it is likely that this vitamin could be associated with depression and that Vitamin D supplements could play an important role in treating depression.
9. Type 2 Diabetes
Studies have shown the correlation between vitamin D levels and the development of type 2 diabetes. Different studies provide evidence that vitamin D may contribute to glucose tolerance through its effects on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.
10. Oral health
Several recent reports demonstrate a significant association between periodontal health and vitamin D intake. Also, elderly patients with low levels of vitamin D have a higher rate of tooth loss than those with high levels of vitamin D.
11. Rheumatoid arthritis
Vitamin D deficiency can play a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have found that women who have more vitamin D seem less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis . Also, among people who already have rheumatoid arthritis, people with low levels of vitamin D tend to have more active symptoms.
Vitamin D deficiency could be linked to cancer: One study indicates that more than 75% of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D, and lower levels are associated with more advanced cancers. However more research is required to determine if higher levels of vitamin D are related to lower cancer incidence or death rates.
What to do if you have a vitamin D deficiency?
A simple blood test can determine whether or not you have a vitamin D deficiency. Take the correct amount of vitamin D supplements.
If you are deficient, supplementing with 2000 to 5000 IU of vitamin D 3 times a day for 3 months (under the supervision of a doctor), this is a good way to increase your levels. Once you’ve reached the optimal range, taking a maintenance dose of 1,000 to 2,000 IU a day is a good idea.
People who live in northern climates (who spend more time indoors) may need to take higher doses. Please make sure that your treatment is being supervised by a doctor when you start it and afterwards in the maintenance of supplementation.
Eat dietary sources of vitamin D, including the following:
- Fish Liver Oils (Cod) – 1 tablespoon (15 ml) contains 1360IU of vitamin D.
- Cooked Wild Salmon – 3.5 oz contains 360 IU.
- Cooked Mackerel – 3.5 oz. Contains 345 IU.
- One whole egg – contains 20 IU.
- Porcini Mushrooms – 4 oz contains 400 IU.
This vitamin is essential for good health. Start with the goal of achieving optimal levels of vitamin D under the supervision of your doctor and see how your health improves.