What Science says about Vitamin D and Your Health
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that builds strong bones. It is produced by the body when we are exposed to sunlight and is one of the most important vitamins for protecting us against health conditions such as osteoporosis.
Getting enough is vital for overall health and directly effects bones and teeth, supports the immune and nervous systems, is vital for cardiovascular health, helps regulate insulin levels and supports brain function.
Although exposure to sunlight is the easiest way to maintain vitamin D levels, it can be tough during winter months and in some areas of the world where it’s not strong enough to provide our bodies with enough to produce it.
In such cases, you may need to get it through foods such as fatty fish, fortified cereals and milk or egg yolks. One problem for many of us is food allergies, and in those cases, a supplement may be necessary.
Are You Deficient?
According to research, about 40% of adults in the United States have a vitamin D deficiency, and it can lead to a variety of issues. Many adults complain of things such as muscle and joint discomfort, fatigue, cardiovascular issues, and seasonal affective disorder.
The question is what factors can cause a deficiency?
Sun exposure — the most significant factor is whether you are getting enough sunlight. This can occur if you live in areas that don’t get adequate sunlight, if you purposefully stay out of the sun, if you’re hospital bound or any other reason you wouldn’t get adequate amounts of sun.
Digestive problems — several health conditions don’t allow the body to absorb vitamin D such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.
Obesity — fat cells extract vitamin D from the blood and interfere in circulation.
Failing kidneys — aren’t able to convert vitamin D to its active form resulting in a deficiency.
Any of these things can cause a deficiency, so it’s important to pay attention to how you feel and get tested if necessary. The test is a simple blood test and can be done quickly and easily from your medical professional.
What If You’re Deficient?
Of course, the first thing you’ll want to do it discuss your options with your doctor. In most cases, they will advise that you begin taking a vitamin D supplement, but they may also have you add foods rich in vitamin D to your diet and get outside.
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