What exactly is vitamin D? How does it affect your body, and what are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency? This article will give you the answers to all of these questions and more! Let’s dive into it.
Vitamin D, or calciferol as it’s also known, is one of the 13 known vitamins in our bodies. Specifically, it’s important for bone health, maintaining normal levels of blood calcium, and overall bone metabolism.
What is Vitamin D?
The compound is actually a hormone that’s naturally synthesized in your skin after you’ve been exposed to UVB radiation. Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough sunlight, making vitamin D deficiency an increasingly common condition.
According to a National Health and Nutrition Survey, 42% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient.
Anyone can develop a deficiency; however, you’re at greater risk if you live in northern latitudes during winter months or if your diet doesn’t contain much fish (it’s loaded with vitamin D) or eggs
Other factors that play into deficiencies include dark skin pigmentation and not consuming dairy products. If you suspect that you might be deficient, talk to your doctor about getting tested for vitamin D levels.
If they’re low, it might be time for a supplement—although there’s no set amount recommended by doctors because everyone responds differently. To see what levels are right for you, ask your doctor for a blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. It measures blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is considered by most experts as the gold standard test for measuring vitamin D status in patients.
It should be noted that there isn’t one single lab test used by any medical professional to measure serum concentrations of 25(OH) D.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms go and get a blood test done to determine whether or not you have vitamin D deficiency. A 2014 study found that close to half of patients with Stage 1 and 2 chronic kidney diseases were deficient in vitamin D.
Symptoms associated with low levels include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and poor appetite.
Other symptoms include confusion and constipation. If left untreated, long-term deficiency can lead to serious health problems including seizures and bone damage.
In general, lack of vitamin D is also linked with an increased risk of several diseases such as diabetes mellitus type 1 or multiple sclerosis as well as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults; however, these associations are not conclusive due to limited research on humans.
What are the consequences of low levels of vitamin D in your body?
There are many consequences to having a low level of vitamin D. The first and foremost is an increased risk of death from all causes, which is most clearly seen in studies looking at mortality from cardiovascular disease.
These people were less likely to die in a given period if they had higher levels of vitamin D. In fact, some reports suggest that people with sufficient levels of vitamin D can cut their risk of dying by 50 percent.
Another consequence has been described as being partially responsible for immune dysfunction in patients with type 2 Diabetes.
This includes higher rates of colds and other infections, but also autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
How do you avoid low levels of vitamin D?
The best way to get vitamin D is through casual exposure to sunlight (the sun), which synthesizes it naturally. Most adults need at least 600 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day.
People who have dark skin or who don’t spend a lot of time outdoors can benefit from a supplement. The Institute of Medicine, which establishes recommended intakes for nutrients and other substances, has not set a tolerable upper limit for daily vitamin D intake.
It also says there’s no evidence that high amounts of vitamin D are harmful in healthy people, so eating more than 4,000 IU a day isn’t likely to hurt you either.
As always with supplements, make sure to check with your doctor before taking one on a regular basis.
How to Get Adequate Levels of Vitamin D in Your Diet
In order to prevent vitamin D deficiency, it’s essential to get plenty of vitamin D through food sources and/or supplements. In general, 400 IU of vitamin D per day is recommended.
To achieve that, you can eat one or two servings of fatty fish (salmon, tuna) each week, consume an additional 10 ounces of fat-free or low-fat dairy products each day (1 cup milk or yogurt), and/or take a daily vitamin supplement containing at least 400 IU per day.
Ask your doctor about new supplementation before starting; while supplements are unlikely to cause health problems if taken in moderation, they should never be used as an excuse for unhealthy eating habits or a sedentary lifestyle.
Ways to Supplement Your Diet with Extra Vitamins
More and more of us are living sedentary lifestyles, indoors and away from natural sunlight. The result is vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and autoimmune conditions.
So if you live in a cold climate or just don’t get enough sunlight, vitamin supplements can be a great way to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
Check with your doctor first – not everyone is at risk of deficiency – but there are a number of inexpensive (and tasteless) ways you can boost your daily intake. For example, most milk products now have added vitamin D as do other foods like orange juice and cereals.
And while it may seem obvious, eating more fish will help too!
Recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamins for Men and Women over 30 Years Old
Men: 600 IU/day Women: 700 IU/day Recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamins For Men and Women Under 30 Years Old: Men: 400 IU/day Women: 600 IU/day Notes on getting enough vitamin D- There is a lot of confusing information about vitamin D.
First, you’ll notice there are different types of units for measuring vitamins and minerals. 1 mcg (microgram) = 1000 IU (international units). So if your daily value is 5,000 mcg that means you need to consume 10,000 IU from food and supplements every day.
What foods have vitamin D? -The best source of vitamin D is fish oil supplements, as well as fatty fish like salmon and tuna. -Other sources include eggs (if they’re fortified); cod liver oil, cheese, beef liver, yogurt, or fortified cereals. –
Vitamin D can also be synthesized by our bodies when we expose ourselves to sunlight – but it’s important not to get too much sun exposure because overexposure can lead to skin cancer!