IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN D IN YOUR DIET
Tid Bits of Info
- Reports indicate that more than 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient.
- Vitamin D has been referred to as the “sunshine” vitamin.
- A level of 20 to 50 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL) is considered adequate for healthy people. Less than 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency.
- Vitamin D is fat soluble.
- Vitamin D is produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.
People have always been searching for simple ways to enjoy a full life. From drinking at the “fountain of youth” to taking a “magic” pill, we would love that little something that could transform us into fit, healthy people ready to conquer the world. While the world waits for “magic” pill, the rest of us could take steps toward a healthier life with Vitamin D. It’s not magic but it is sometimes called a little dose of sunshine.
As it turns out, over 1 billion people worldwide are Vitamin D deficient. About 40% of Americans lack adequate levels of Vitamin D. This can be the result of too little sun exposure, diet, obesity, aging and other factors. Increasing Vitamin D levels can impact our health in a variety of positive ways.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble (dissolves in body fat) and has an effect on nearly every aspect of our bodies. It helps bone and muscle health, reduces diabetes, helps with heart function, lowers the chances of certain cancers, helps to reduce inflammation and might have some positive effects on the common cold, healthy births, protection against Parkinson’s Disease and age related mental conditions.
Vitamin D can be manufactured by our bodies with the proper amount of sun light. It is very difficult to find an adequate supply of vitamin D in foods. Fatty fish, organ meats, fortified foods and certain mushrooms are rich in the vitamin. Most people would benefit from a supplement of vitamin D to ensure that their bodies have the proper levels.
Vitamin D helps the bones to absorb the minerals calcium and phosphorus which are needed to maintain strong healthy bones. With a deficiency of vitamin D, there is a higher incidence of bone diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. Some studies indicate that vitamin D levels might have an effect on the healing time of a fractured bone.
Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can lead to a decrease in muscle strength. These studies indicated that the deficiency leads to an increase in muscle atrophy and more specifically the Type II fibers which are responsible for speed and power.
There are two types of diabetes, Type I and Type II. Type I is caused due to genetics and Type II develops later in life most commonly due to lifestyle. There are studies that have shown those infants that have taken a vitamin D supplement can be up to 88% less likely to be diagnosed with the Type I diabetes. One function of vitamin D might be to make a person more insulin sensitive. Type II diabetes develops when the pancreas stops producing insulin or when the body becomes resistant to insulin. Increased sensitivity to insulin would help prevent the onset and development of Type II diabetes.
The studies have shown that men with vitamin D deficiency can be 2x more likely to suffer a heart attack and up to 153% more susceptible to developing heart disease. Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels can be accomplished via good lifestyle choices and proper nutrition.
Vitamin D levels appear to have an effect on nearly all aspects of the human body and the way it functions. The proper levels are difficult to maintain due to few food choices that can help supply the vitamin to the body and a push to have people avoid excess amounts of sun light. Vitamin D levels are below the recommended levels in many people. Research will have to continue to determine if vitamin D is the “magic” pill.
There was a time when calcium was the major focus of clinicians for treatment or prevention of osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy bone with adequate mineral density. Nowadays, we know that without adequate vitamin D3 level in our body, calcium cannot get absorbed properly from the intestines and also, the calcium level in our plasma would decrease which leads to bone resorption of calcium and eventually, a decrease in bone density that makes bones subjects to osteopenic fracture. This article briefly mentions all the health benefits of vitamin D and how important it is to get our vitamin D level checked and protect our bodies from vitamin D deficiency by a simple solution of taking daily supplements of this crucial and vital vitamin.
Vitamin D sometimes is overlooked as a vitamin of importance in the daily diet. However, it is one that must be apart of our lives especially with increasing age. As my above classmates have said we learned in our geriatrics course the importance of vitamin d on the bone remodeling process in addition to being of importance when it comes to a patient who may be a frequent faller to prevent fractures. In addition, cardiovascular disorders are one of the top leading causes of death in the US. As this statistic adding vitamin d to your diet can not only improve the cardiovascular system but musculoskeletal as well. Why not take the “sunshine pill” in order to improve your overall health and help you become stronger both mentally and physically.
Really well said Jeanne!
Spending time out in the sun can be difficult at times for all those that work a long day. You go into work when it’s dark and leave when it’s dark. But it only takes about 10 minutes in a strong sun to get your daily dose of vitamin D; not too bad, right? That would be a quick walk during a lunch break which would be beneficial in so many ways. Just some things to consider: you need sunscreen less an SPF 30 to have absorption and darker skin tones and older skin needs more time to absorb.
I always check with older folks if they are taking Vitamin D since we learned in school it is instrumental for preventing falls but now I am re-thinking that and this needs to be a discussion for everyone! Vitamin D when activated allows for absorption of calcium essential to body function. Nerve cells are activated by influxes of calcium, muscles are able to contract when calcium binds to specific proteins in the muscle filaments and bones need calcium for strength. Calcium is required in so many processes beyond that. If the body can’t absorb calcium due to lack of vitamin D then the body will take those minerals from its internal storage-the bones. This means weaker bones and increased risk of fracture. Overall a malfunctioning nervous system, weak muscles and weak bones are not what ANY of us want!! This is one supplement I include.