The Sunshine Vitamin: A Guide to Understanding Vitamin D

We need vitamins to maintain good health as they play an essential role in a number of functions.

Inadequate amounts of vitamins can lead to fatigue, delayed healing, and many other problems. One of the essential vitamins is vitamin D.

What Does It Do?

Vitamin D plays a role in ensuring that your body builds and maintains bone mass and energy production. Your major muscle groups need vitamin D in order to function adequately. It also plays a role in immune function.

There are a few options to obtain vitamin D. You get it from sunshine, foods, and supplements. Your body can produce vitamin D from the sun and certain foods.

These are some good dietary sources of this vitamins:

* Cheddar Cheese

* Egg Yolks

* Fatty Fish

* Liver

* Vitamin D fortified foods such as dairy, orange juice, and soy products

If you don’t obtain enough vitamin D from any of these sources, then you may have a deficiency.

What is a Vitamin D Deficiency?

You can have a vitamin deficiency if you don’t get enough of it through your diet, you don’t spend much time in the sun, or you don’t take any supplements that contain vitamin D.

Even if you obtain enough vitamin D through sun exposure or your diet, your body may not be able to use it properly. People with dark skin have a more challenging time creating vitamin D.

Additionally, if your kidneys don’t work adequately, they may not be able to turn inactive vitamin D into its active form.

Other causes can be related to your digestive system. Anyone with Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease may not be able to absorb adequate amounts of vitamin D.

With each of these diseases, the small intestine is affected and may prevent adequate absorption of this nutrient as well as other vitamins and minerals.

What are Deficiency Symptoms?

You can have a blood test to determine if you are deficient. However, the most common signs and symptoms of a deficiency are as follows:

* Painful bones: People who have skeletal pain may not have adequate vitamin D. This can be a symptom of osteoporosis and since vitamin D plays a role in bone health, you may see this problem.

* Depression: Sunlight produces an increase in serotonin which improves mood but your levels may be low if you don’t spend enough time outside. People with vitamin D deficiencies have a greater likelihood of depression.

* GI disorders: If you have any type of gut problem that may be causing you to malabsorb nutrients, especially fat, then you have a greater chance of being deficient in vitamin D.

* Head sweating: This symptom is a strange one but frequently occurs in people who are vitamin D deficient.

If you’re experiencing any of these problems, then it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor.

Health Risks for Vitamin D Deficiencies

Vitamin D plays a large role in a variety of your body’s normal functions. It maintains skeletal health, immune function, and the creation of new cells.

It also plays an important role in cardiovascular health by preventing strokes, heart attacks, and hypertension.

As you can see, your health is going to be at risk for any number of reasons when you don’t have adequate vitamin D.

Solutions for a Deficiency

There are three primary treatments for a deficiency: spend more time outdoors, eat more vitamin D rich foods, or take a vitamin D supplement to boost your supplement.

Vitamin D3 is one of the best choices available to increase your levels. The amount that you should be taking will depend on your levels.

Make sure that you get your levels tested and take a supplement promptly if you’re below the recommendations. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor about how much you should be taking.

Vitamin D plays an important role in your body so you should make sure that you’re getting enough of this nutrient in your diet.

If you suspect you are low in this vitamin, schedule a visit with your doctor as quickly as possible.

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