Vitamin D Deficiency
“A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the widespread deficiency of vitamin D among Americans is more harmful than once believed, increasing their risk of fractures, muscle weakness, and even cancer as they age”
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that performs in the same way as a hormone, it regulates the formation of bone and assists in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestines. Vitamin D also helps move calcium from the bones to the blood and from the blood back to the bones.
Studies show that vitamin D’s benefits may go beyond the protection of bone and muscle. There is new research to suggest that vitamin D may also guard against an array of diseases, including colon, breast, and prostate cancers. “The potential role of vitamin D in forestalling other diseases, particularly autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, has generated widespread interest as well.”
Vitamin D deficiencies are on the rise and scientists are taking note. According to the National Institute of Health “Vitamin D deficiency is much more common than previously believed – more than 80 percent of Americans experience a vitamin D deficiency. Populations most at risk for serious vitamin D deficiency – along with deficiency-related cancers and other chronic diseases – are those in which exposure to sunlight (natural or artificial) is poor. Increased skin pigmentation and use of sunscreen markedly reduce natural production of vitamin D”
“There is an abundance of supporting evidence from a variety of respected sources to suggest vitamin D deficiency is certainly a concern. For instance, one National Cancer Institute study has found that Americans who live in sunnier southern cities have from 10 to 27 percent fewer vitamin D-deficiency-related cancer deaths from breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer than do Americans who live in more northern latitudes. Another study, published in the March 15, 2002 issue of the Journal Cancer estimated that 28,000 Americans die each year from cancers triggered by reduced solar exposure leading to insufficient levels of vitamin D, and another 80,000 preventable cases of cancer occur each year from the same cause. Similar findings were reported in the June, 2002 Canadian Medical Journal. A total of 1.3 million cases of these targeted cancers, for which there are known links to vitamin D deficiency, occur in the US every year, along with 200,000 new cases of diabetes and multiple sclerosis according to Dr. William Grant, a noted epidemiologist and NASA scientist.”
With statistics like these it’s time to start paying attention……
Who is at risk of Vitamin D deficiency?
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The people who are the most at risk for this deficiency are those who do not get enough Vitamin D in their diet or that do not go out in the sun often. Usually prevalent in people who are homebound, or malnourished, and is found in the darker skinned population. Another individual who may be at risk is those who live in northern countries due to the decrease of sunlight. Also people who are taking different types of drugs such as seizure medication may also be at risk. Studies have also shown that infants who are drinking milk substitutes are at risk; these milk substitutes include soy milk, rice, oatmeal and almond drinks. Studies have also shown that 76% of all pregnant women are severely vitamin D deficient which also causes their unborn children to be deficient.
“In a study involving 150 children and adults with unexplained muscle and bone pain, almost all were found to be vitamin D deficient; many were severely deficient with extremely low levels of vitamin D in their bodies.”
What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
One of the biggest symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is bone illness; there is rickets in children which is a deformity of the long bones and leads to a failure to grow. Usually children who are suffering from rickets will have rounded legs, a distended stomach, and a larger head as well as some swelling noticeable where the ends of the bone are. Lack of the vitamin in infancy can cause lack of growth or deformities in their skeleton. In adults a deficiency can lead to Osteoporosis and Osteomalacia which is a disease where the bone thins and causes a lack of strength in muscles and bones.. Symptoms in adult are not as easy to spot as they are in a child, but there are signs such as softness in the bones of the legs and some muscle pain, and it may also increase the risk of some cancers.
Studies are beginning to identify common symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency one of the most interesting is the link between vitamin d and pain. “Vitamin D deficiency may be characterized by muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities. Women with renal problems or intestinal concerns (such as IBS or Crohn’s disease) may be vitamin D deficient because they can neither absorb nor adequately convert the nutrient.”
Can you have too much vitamin D?
Yes you can, but scientists are starting to believe it is not as great a risk as they once thought. Too much vitamin D can cause loss of appetite, nausea, depression, weight loss, and may cause deposits of calcium to build in the kidneys.
Curing Vitamin D deficiency
In order to cure the Vitamin D deficiency, there are multivitamins or straight vitamin D supplements. Most people need about 2,000 units of vitamin D everyday. The next way to help your deficiency is to increase your sun exposure, get out and take a long walk in the sunshine. Lastly eat vitamin D rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables, fish and sun dried produce, and of course drink some milk. You will feel better, become stronger and ultimately eliminate your Vitamin D deficiency.
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