Vitamin D deficiencies; we all get them, but how important is it really to maintain a healthy level of it?
Extremely! Lack of Vitamin D can lead to weak or soft bones, increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and potentially cancer.
What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin
that is made when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It is present in only a small number of foods, including fortified products, such as milk. Vitamin D is best known for supporting calcium
metabolism. It helps the body absorb calcium from food and supplements to support the maintenance of healthy bones cells. But working with calcium to protect the bones is far from the only function of vitamin D in the body.
Vitamin D also:
Vitamin D Deficiency. How does this occur, one may ask? Well, it can be caused by a lack of sunlight – one of the most common reasons, eating foods that are low in Vitamin D for an extended period of time, having a more pigmented (darker) complexion, if one’s kidneys do not process it like they should, if an individual’s digestive tract cannot completely absorb the nutrient, or if one is overweight it makes the supplement harder to transport within the bloodstream. These are all reasons (and they do vary from person to person) as to why an individual may have lower levels of Vitamin D within their body.
In order to raise the levels of this nutrient within a person, one must see their physician and obtain a higher dosage of a Vitamin D supplement in order to balance out their levels. The recommended dosage for adults is 600 IUs (International Units) and then adults 70 and older are recommended to take 800IUs as a safe higher dosage. For extreme cases of Vitamin D deficiency, adults are able to take up to 4000 IUs for a short amount of time in order to get their bodies back into balance, but are supposed to switch over to the recommended 600 IUs afterwards.
This is definitely a preventable issue; just ensure to get consistent medical check-ups and your primary care physician can run tests to determine if this is an issue for you.