Did you know that 75% of the WORLD is Vitamin D deficient? We're willing to bet that you fall into a that percentage, especially if you're living in Alaska. In this blog post, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and solutions related to vitamin D deficiency, shedding light on the vital role this vitamin plays in our health.
Understanding Vitamin D:
Vitamin D, often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," is a fat-soluble vitamin that our bodies produce in response to sunlight exposure. It plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. In addition to sunlight, vitamin D can also be obtained through certain foods and supplements.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency:
Limited Sunlight Exposure: The primary source of vitamin D is sunlight, and inadequate exposure to sunlight is a common cause of deficiency. Factors such as spending most of the day indoors, living in regions with limited sunlight (aka Alaska), or consistently using sunscreen can hinder the body's ability to produce sufficient vitamin D.
Dietary Factors: While some foods contain vitamin D, it can be challenging to get enough through diet alone.
Age and Skin Tone: As individuals age, their skin becomes less efficient at producing vitamin D. Additionally, people with darker skin tones may require more sunlight exposure to generate an adequate amount of vitamin D compared to those with lighter skin tones.
Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and obesity, can interfere with the absorption of vitamin D. Individuals with these conditions may be more prone to deficiency.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency:
Bone Pain and Muscle Weakness: Vitamin D is crucial for bone health, and a deficiency can lead to bone pain and muscle weakness. This may manifest as general aches and pains, especially in the back and legs.
Fatigue and Weakness: Individuals with low vitamin D levels often report feelings of fatigue and weakness. This can impact daily activities and overall quality of life.
Impaired Immune Function: Vitamin D plays a role in supporting the immune system. Deficiency may contribute to an increased susceptibility to infections and a longer recovery time.
Mood Changes: Some research suggests a link between vitamin D deficiency and mood disorders, such as depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Risks Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency:
Increased Cancer Risk: Most people are concerned about skin cancer and avoid Vitamin D, but research shows that higher Vitamin D levels reduce your risk of internal cancer by 67%. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk for colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
Increased Lung Disease: Research has linked Vitamin D deficiency to interstitial lung disease (ILD).
Increased Risk of Pregnancy Loss: Research suggests that Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the immune response to pregnancy. It can limit the adverse response to the foreign tissue and result in less chance of early pregnancy loss.
Increased Risk of Preterm Birth: Research indicates that women with a history of preterm birth can lower their risk by 80% by raising their Vitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL.
Solutions for Vitamin D Deficiency:
Sunlight Exposure: Increasing exposure to sunlight, particularly during the midday hours, can help the body produce more vitamin D. We process Vitamin D when sunlight (UVB) hits our skin and interacts with cholesterol in our cells.
Dietary Changes: Incorporating vitamin D-rich foods into the diet can be beneficial. We recommend incorporating fish, fish liver oil and beef liver in your diet.
Supplements: Check the label and the dosage. Not all supplements are created equal! Prescription D2 is not D3. Visit our Fullscript Supplement Store for our recommendations. See our recommended dose chart below. Most conventional recommendations are too low.
Regular Check-ups: Our patients are encouraged to check their labs often to maintain steady levels of Vitamin D and other important vitamins and minerals.
Karis Integrative Medicine Vitamin D Recommended Doses:
Vitamin D deficiency is a common yet often overlooked health concern with wide-ranging implications. By understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, and adopting proactive solutions, individuals can take steps to ensure they maintain adequate levels of this essential vitamin. Through increased sunlight exposure, dietary adjustments, and supplementation, prioritizing vitamin D can contribute to overall well-being and a healthier, more vibrant life. Remember, a little sunlight can go a long way in brightening both your day and your health!