A study at John Hopkins University found that 42 percent of Americans have low levels of Vitamin D. Researchers stress that this deficiency is an epidemic and could lead to serious health issues. Furthermore, there are risks associated with Vitamin D deficiency, particularly when it comes to men. Learn more about the signs of Vitamin D deficiency and what one can do about it.
Vitamin D is essential to the proper functioning of our bodies and has numerous benefits, regardless of gender. It promotes bone growth by absorbing the calcium in the gut and helps to maintain calcium and phosphate levels. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has found that African American men are 3 ½ times more likely than Caucasian men to suffer from Vitamin D deficiency.
Why Vitamin D Is Important?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body uses to promote healthy bone development and maintenance by increasing the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. Many studies are now showing an association between Vitamin D deficiency and Osteoporosis or Osteopenia cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and depression.
The Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency Due to Skin Color
A darker-skinned person has to be exposed to the sun for five to six times as long as a light-skinned person to get the same amount of Vitamin D. This is because of the melanin in his or her skin.
Reasons for Vitamin D Deficiency
There are numerous reasons for Vitamin D deficiency. Here are some of the primary ones.
- Decreased sun exposure. About 50-90 percent of Vitamin D gets absorbed through the skin via sunlight.
- Decrease in the dietary intake of Vitamin D.
- Medical problems like celiac disease, gastric bypass, IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome), fibrosis, liver disease, etc.
- Medication: Some medications will increase the breakdown of Vitamin D in the liver, leading to Vitamin D deficiency.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is a serious issue, as it has been linked to several diseases and conditions. The most common signs of Vitamin D deficiency include:
- Bone pain
- Weakness, cramping, spasms
- Problems with sleeping
- Loss of hair
- Low mood or depression
What to do to Get Enough Vitamin D?
Get more outside time and enjoy some outdoor activities. Remember, 60-90 percent of Vitamin D comes from the sun. Individuals should make sure there are at least 15 minutes of outside time before applying sunscreen on the arms and legs. Additionally, there are certain foods that are rich in Vitamin D, which include the following:
- Cod liver oil
- Tuna fish
- Fortified cereals
- Orange juices.
Take supplements. The daily recommended doses depend on the levels of each individual’s Vitamin D and how much sun exposure is available where they live. A visit to a healthcare provider will help to determine that. Additionally, taking supplements such as Balance7 will help ensure the body has enough Vitamin D.
Be aware that taking too much Vitamin D can cause Vitamin D toxicity. Always take the recommended amount as directed by the healthcare provider.