Dropping Vitamin D Levels? Beware, Your Health Is At Risk

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Dropping Vitamin D Levels? Beware, Your Health Is At Risk

Are you getting enough of the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’? If you aren’t, your lifestyle may put you at serious health risks. Vitamin D deficiency is when the level of Vitamin D in your body is too low that cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually a hormone that your body makes, when you expose your skin to sunlight. Vitamin D isn’t like most other vitamins as your body can’t make other vitamins. You can also get Vitamin D from supplements and a very small amount comes from a few foods you eat. It can influence about 3000 genes of our body out of the total 24000 genes in our system.

A recent study shows that Vitamin D deficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnicities and age groups, have a Vitamin D deficiency. Shocking isn’t? So, if you’re wondering what exactly the health risks of Vitamin D deficiency are, you ought to read this.

Vitamin D Deficiency – Symptoms

It is extremely difficult to find out whether you’re deficient in Vitamin D. Most people won’t be aware of it, as they won’t find any noticeable symptoms. If you’re a Vitamin D deficient, look out for these symptoms.

  • Muscle/Joint Pain
  • Bone Pain
  • Tiredness/Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Weakness

Reasons for Vitamin D Deficiency

Here are a few reasons for Vitamin D deficiency:

  • Vegan Diet

Vitamin D deficiency can occur if you follow a strict vegan diet. Because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk and beef liver.

  • Limited Exposure to Sunlight

As the body makes Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at a risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings, or use sun blocks, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.

  • Melanin

The pigment melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make Vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

  • Chronic Kidney Disease

If you have chronic kidney disease, you may have more difficulty absorbing and utilizing Vitamin D in your body that you may need to take Vitamin D supplements.

  • Obesity

Vitamin D is a fat–soluble that acts as a ‘sink’ by collecting it. If you’re obese or have higher muscle mass, you’re likely to need more Vitamin D than a slimmer person.

Now that we know the reasons of Vitamin D deficiency, let’s have a sneak peek on the effects of this deficiency.

Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency

The most common ill effects of Vitamin D deficiency are listed below:

  • Dementia & Alzheimer’s

Moderate to severe Vitamin D deficiency may double the risks for some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a decline in thinking, behavior, and memory that negatively affects daily life whereas Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

  • Depression

People with Vitamin D deficiency were more than twice more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those with higher levels. Antidepressants are not the only solution for your prolonged sadness and depression. You could actually pep up your mood by restoring your Vitamin D levels.

  • Cancer

Low levels of Vitamin D also make it to the list of hundreds of things that are known to increase the risk of cancer. Also, cancer patients who have higher levels of Vitamin D when they’re diagnosed tend to live longer than patients who are deficient.

  • Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder and people with Vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia as compared to people with sufficient Vitamin D levels.

  • Weak Bones

Vitamin D plays an important role in absorbing calcium from the food you eat in the intestine. Naturally if you’re deficient in Vitamin D, you will be calcium deficient as well. And calcium is required for building stronger and healthy bones. Therefore indirectly Vitamin D deficiency results in weak, soft and achy bones.

  • Heart Disease

People with Vitamin D deficiency have increased risk of heart disease compared to those with normal levels. Along with other factors such as smoking and physical activity, Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of heart disease.

  • Anemia

Anemia is caused when your body does not have sufficient levels of red blood cells that carry oxygen to various parts of the body. But you have to understand that the main reason for anemia is deficiency of Vitamin D.

  • Pneumonia

The risk of developing pneumonia is greater in people with lower levels of Vitamin D. As Vitamin D deficiency weakens the immune system, it increases your risk of respiratory infections.

  • Psoriatic Arthritis

Most of the psoriatic patients also have psoriatic arthritis, in which the immune system attacks the joints causing pain and inflammation. Low levels of D may make inflammatory conditions such as psoriatic arthritis worse, possibly by increasing white blood cell levels.

  • Infertility

It is also found that Vitamin D stimulates the production of the male hormone testosterone and female hormone progesterone. Thus, Vitamin D deficiency can result in infertility.

That’s a huge list isn’t? Don’t you think Vitamin D isn’t just a ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, but eventually a ‘Superstar Vitamin’? If you think so, here’s a list of foods that are a rich source of Vitamin D.

Sources of Vitamin D

  • Salmon

Salmon which has high fat content is rich in Vitamin D. One serving of salmon will provide you with your daily recommended Vitamin D intake.

  • Mushroom

Just like humans, mushrooms have the capacity to produce Vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet light. Shitake mushrooms are considered to be one of the best sources of Vitamin D. They’re perfect vitamin supplements for vegetarians.

  • Milk

Milk, which is an excellent source of Vitamin D will provide you up to a quarter of the recommended Vitamin D.

  • Egg Yolk

Eggs are a convenient way to get Vitamin D, as they’re popular in many breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes.

  • Fortified Cereal

Choose a fortified cereal to get part of your daily fill of Vitamin D.

  • Orange Juice

As orange juice is commonly fortified, one glass of orange juice a day will give you a good dose of Vitamin D.

So what are you waiting for? Get your dose of the ‘Superstar Vitamin’ and lead a long, healthy and stress free life.

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    About The Author

    Dr. Rejitha

    Dr. Rejitha B.S.M.S who comes from Erulappapuram, Nagercoil finished her Bachelor in siddha medicine and surgery in A.T.S.V.S. Siddha Medical College. She is an expert in Siddha Medicine and has been operating in the field for more than eight years.read more

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