You wouldn’t think that something as simple to get as a dose of vitamin D, could ever be deficient in people, but it is. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 32 percent of the population suffers from it. Vitamin D is created by converting the the ultraviolet B rays via the exposure to the skin. Some scientists and researchers suggest the deficiency is even worse and that 95 percent of US seniors also suffer from it.
People at risk for vitamin D deficiency have some characteristics.
If you have darker skin, it takes more exposure to the sun to get the effects of the rays. People who use sunblock or sunscreens with high SPF levels all the time are also putting themselves at risk. Seniors are also at risk. Not only do they spend more time indoors, their skin doesn’t make as much vitamin D and their kidneys aren’t as efficient at converting the amount made into the vitamin D the body can use. People with stomach problems who have difficulty absorbing fat may not have the absorption levels, since vitamin D is fat soluble. Obese individuals also need more vitamin D than thinner people, so they require more exposure to the sun.
Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are varied.
You might find you’re always tired, no matter how much rest you get or get sick quicker. Vitamin D not only boosts your immune system, it also helps your energy level. Too little vitamin D can cause lower back pain and achy bones. It’s mandatory for good bone health and absorbing calcium. Too little vitamin D can attribute to osteoporosis. Depression and anxiety are also symptoms, just as slower healing is. Hair loss and muscle pain are also part of the symptoms of a vitamin D shortage. Stomach issues can also crop up with a shortage of vitamin D. The symptom that doctors look for in infants and is also a tale-tell sign of a shortage is profuse sweating, particularly out of the top of the head.
The best way to tackle a vitamin D shortage is nature’s way.
Mother Nature provided an avenue and that avenue is simple exposure to the sun. The amount of time spent in the sun varies by your climate, skin color and other factors. If you know you’ll burn with just a half hour exposure, 15 minutes a day is what you should get. The idea is to expose yourself to half the amount of time it takes to get a mild sunburn. That amount of time will increase as you tan. The time of day will also make a difference. The closer to noon the exposure, the more vitamin D your skin makes.
- People who live in frigid climates may need to supplement their sun exposure during colder months with vitamin D tablets, just as older people may.
- Vitamin D reduces high blood pressure and the risk of atherosclerotic heart disease, stroke and heart attack. A deficiency increases the risk of a heart attack by 50 percent.
- Vitamin D modulates the immune system, boosting it when necessary or aiding in preventing auto-immune disease.
- Talk to your health care provider if you think you have vitamin D deficiency. He or she can arrange for a blood serum level check. One quick way to avoid it is to enjoy the rays of the sun daily.