Are you vitamin D deficient?


Vitamin D or the sunshine vitamin” is very important for your health because it assists in the absorption of calcium and promotes bone mineralization, which may prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis. It also helps to strengthen the immune system and protect against a number of serious diseases, including rickets and osteomalacia.

Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following: increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease; cognitive impairment in older adults; severe asthma in children; cancer.

Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes,hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

The best way to discover vitamin D deficiency is to take a blood test that will measure the level of the vitamin in your blood. Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:

(1) You dont consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if you follow a strict vegetarian diet, because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver.

(2) Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.

(3) You have dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces the skins 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.

(4) Your kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form. As people age their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.

(5) Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D. Certain medical problems, including Crohns disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can affect your intestines ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat.

(6) You are obese. Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release into the circulation. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D....

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