Do you see yourself as overweight? Are you always exhausted and stressed out? Do you get irritable? Do you have difficulty concentrating?

Then you may need more vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. The two key forms are vitamin D2 (also called ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol).

Vitamin D is crucial for the health and function of every cell in your body. It controls many functions in your body by acting on the receptors that send messages to your genes.

So why is it important to prevent vitamin D deficiency?

Did you know that vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many chronic diseases including: high blood pressure, many cancers, diabetes, heart disease, depression, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, infectious diseases, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases and many more? As a result it is vital to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

To absorb calcium properly, your body needs sufficient amount of vitamin D so it is important to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

Research shows the importance of vitamin D

A study published in 2010 in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research Journal found out that in adults, almost all patients with heart failure showed signs of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency was found to be a risk factor for deaths due to sudden cardiac arrest (Pilz et al., 2010).

prevent vitamin d deficiency_2

Another study published in 2010 in the Gastroenterology & Hepatology Journal found out that in 118 patients with liver disease, 92.4% of them were deficient in vitamin D . The study also found that vitamin D deficiency also causes muscle weakness (Satheesh, 2010).

There is also evidence in the study published in 1991 in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences that vitamin D deficiency is linked to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease (Landfield et al., 1991).  These studies show that it is crucial to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

How to optimize your vitamin D levels to prevent vitamin D deficiency

You can get most of the vitamin D you need from the sun. When your body is exposed to sunlight it makes vitamin D.  The difficulty is that majority of people are not exposed to an adequate amount of sunlight.

Though sunscreen assists in protecting against skin cancer, its overuse blocks out over 90% of your body’s production of vitamin D. If you also live in a climate where there is not enough sunlight throughout the year, you will not be getting enough vitamin D.

As you get older, your skin also produces less vitamin D. If you have darker skin you produce less vitamin D and  if you keep yourself covered all the time, you will produce less vitamin D.

Get your levels tested

To prevent vitamin D deficiency, it is important to get your vitamin D levels tested with your doctor. Your levels need to be at the right range for optimal health.

You may need  to take vitamin D supplements to optimize your levels, if you do make sure you are taking the right type of vitamin D. The only possible active form, the form produced by your body is vitamin D3  and not vitamin D2 so look for vitamin D3.

It is important to also include food sources rich in vitamin D to prevent vitamin D deficiency. Food sources include eggs and fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines).

In conclusion, vitamin D is essential for excellent health so it is important you aim for optimal levels to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

 

Read more from Expert Anne Anyia.

References

1) Pilz S, Tomaschitz A, Drechsler C, Dekker J M, Marz W (2010)  Vitamin D deficiency and myocardial diseases. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 54:1103-1113.

2) Satheesh N (2010) Vitamin D Deficiency and Liver Disease. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 6: 491-493.

3) Landfield, P W et al. “Phosphate/calcium alterations in the first stages of Alzheimer’s disease: implications for etiology and pathogenesis.”Journal of the Neurological Sciences”,106:221-229

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