By consuming foods with vitamin-D- like milk e.g., one won’t reduce the risk of D vitamin deficiency which is very common. Even many of the fortified foods don’t have enough vitamin D to support the requirement.
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone and not a regular vitamin. We generally obtain it through Sun exposure, not via diet.
Studies have shown that, vitamin D deficiency is increasing at a tremendous speed amongst the people. 32 percent of children and adults were vitamin D deficient. Also 50 percent of children aged one to five years and 70 percent of children aged six to 11 were vitamin D deficient. Overall 50 percent of the general population is at risk of D vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency is more common in adults with limited outdoor activities. People with increased skin pigmentation whose ancestors are from Africa, the Middle East, or India are also at risk along with Americans.
Over 80 percent of senior citizens may be deficient in vitamin D due to their less exposure to Sun. They also produce less vitamin D in response to Sun exposure.
Blood testing is the only way to measure vitamin D level.
There are some signs and symptoms listed below that one should be aware of –
- Darker Skin –
People with darker skin are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency as they may need more Sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a person with pale skin. More the pigment you have, more the time you will need to spend in the sun to make required amount of vitamin D.
- Feeling depressed –
Serotonin is a brain hormone which is associated with the mood. Serotonin increases if a person is exposed to bright light. People who are less exposed to Sun light tend to be more depressed.
- Age –
As one gets older the skin doesn’t make as much vitamin D in response to Sun exposure. Kidneys also become less efficient in converting vitamin D into the form used by our body. Also as older adults spend more time indoors they get even less Sun exposure hence less vitamin D.
- Weight –
Body fat acts as a “sink” by collecting vitamin D which is a fat soluble hormone type vitamin. So if you’re overweight or obese or even with higher muscle mass, you will likely need more vitamin D than a slimmer person.
- Bones Aching –
Many people, who visit the doctor for aches and pains, along with fatigue, may end up being misdiagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome. But many of these symptoms are signs of vitamin D deficiency that causes osteoporosis in adults. So they face throbbing and aching bones.
- Head Sweating –
One of the first signs of vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head. There is excessive head sweating in newborns which is an early symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
- Gut Trouble –
Vitamin D deficiency causes gut conditions like Crohn’s, celiac, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and inflammatory bowel disease.
By increasing our vitamin D levels we can be protected against –
- Cardiovascular disease – Vitamin D is very important for reducing hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The deficiency increases the risk of heart attack by 50 percent. Also, if a person with vitamin D deficiency has a heart attack, the risk of dying from that heart attack increases to nearly 100 percent.
- Autoimmune diseases – Vitamin D helps prevention of autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. It also destroys bacteria and viruses.
- Infections, including influenza – It helps in fighting infections of all kinds including cold and flu.
- DNA repair and metabolic processes – Vitamin D regulates different genes that control around 80 different metabolic processes, like improving DNA repair, which has implications for ageing and cancer also.
How to obtain vitamin D –
First source is obviously “Getting More Sun Shine”. If you can’t get enough Sunshine for whatever reason, you may have an option to take vitamin D supplement. If you go for a vitamin D supplement, you should also take vitamin k2 through food and/or a supplement. If you’re getting your vitamin D from the Sun, supplements of vitamin K2 are not required.
Inputs from – 7 Signs You May Have a Vitamin D Deficency23