Do you have enough of the “sunshine” vitamin? Yes, we’re talking about Vitamin D. Vitamin D Deficiency can lead to different medical conditions, so make sure you have enough of it. Read through this article, and you’ll get all your Vitamin D basics.
What is Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is a condition wherein you don’t have enough Vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. Thus, it is recommended that you get the right amount of Vitamin D every day. However, as we grow older, our body’s ability to convert sunshine to Vitamin D diminishes, so we need to get it from alternative sources.
What are the sources of Vitamin D?
- Exposure to the sun for about 15-20 minutes three times a week. Just be reminded that too much exposure to the sun is also not healthy.
- Through the foods you eat. Fish and dairy products are rich in Vitamin D. Some examples include swordfish, salmon, tuna, orange juice, milk, yogurt, and egg yolk, to name a few.
- Through nutritional supplements
Why is Vitamin D important?
Just like other vitamins, Vitamin D plays a vital role in keeping your body healthy. Here are some of Vitamin D’s health benefits:
It keeps the bones strong
Healthy bones protect you from certain conditions. Children can be protected from a condition called rickets. It is a disorder where children’s bones are weak and soft. For adults, osteomalacia is the condition of having soft bones.
Helps your body absorb calcium
Vitamin D aids your body in absorbing calcium. Calcium keeps your bones strong and healthy. With enough calcium, you can prevent osteoporosis, the condition of having weak bones. You can also control the loss of bone density which usually leads to fractures.
For adults, strong bones also mean less risk of falling. With the help of Vitamin D, your body will have optimum absorption of calcium.
Helps your parathyroid gland
The parathyroid gland is responsible for balancing the calcium in your blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut, and skeleton. With Vitamin D helping in maximum calcium absorption, it will be distributed evenly in your body. If there is sufficient calcium intake, the parathyroid gland will ‘borrow’ calcium from the skeleton leading to a calcium deficiency in your bones.
What are the signs and symptoms that you have a Vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can manifest in adults through:
- Bone pain
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle ache
- Muscle cramps
How to prevent Vitamin D deficiency?
Eat more foods rich in Vitamin D
Add more Vitamin D-rich foods to your diet. This can help you increase your Vitamin D levels but bear in mind that this is not enough.
Get an appropriate amount of sun exposure
It’s not exactly clear how much sun exposure is needed, but the recommended amount of time is 10 to 15 minutes three times a week. Expose your face, arms, legs, or back to get a suitable amount of Vitamin D.
When you grow older, have darker skin color, or live in cold climates, you might need to be exposed more. Using sunscreen and standing behind a window can prevent your skin from producing Vitamin D. But just like everything else, too much of something is terrible. Too much exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer and skin aging, so be wary of just taking the right amount.
It is essential to get the right amount of Vitamin D to prevent certain diseases. If you want to know if you’re Vitamin D deficient, go to your doctor and order a blood test. From there, you and your doctor can work out a plan on how to manage your Vitamin D deficiency.