Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. It can affect as many as 2,000 genes in your body. When directly exposed to the sun, your body naturally produces Vitamin D. Although a fantastic way to get it, the sun is not the only way you can make sure you are getting enough! There are many foods that are rich in Vitamin D LIKE Salmon, Egg yolks, shrimp, milk, yogurt and orange juice. If that is not working out for you, you may consider supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.
Vitamin D has several essential functions but the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases. If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis) as well as many other diseases. Below are just a few reasons why vitamin D is so important!
- reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis
- decreasing your chance of developing heart disease
- helping to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu
- regulating mood and warding off depression
- helps prevent fibromyalgia and anxiety
- reduces chances of breast cancer
Many lifestyle and environmental factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include:
- being in an area with high pollution
- using sunscreen
- spending more time indoors
- living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
- having darker skin
These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people. That’s why it’s important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight.
The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults include:
- tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well
- severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause you to walk with a waddling gait
- stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips
Doctors can diagnose a vitamin D deficiency by performing a simple blood test. If you have a deficiency, your doctor may order X-rays to check the strength of your bones.
Don’t wait, get your levels checked…it could potentially save your life!