If you hate the sun, lactose intolerant or follow a strict vegan diet, there are chances that you might suffer from vitamin D deficiency. You all know that the primary source of vitamin D is right outside your door and up in the sky. The sunshine vitamin is formed in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, It is also present naturally in a few foods like fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks and also in fortified dairy and grain products…
SYMPTOMS AND HEALTH RISKS OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
You’ve read in your science book that lack of Vitamin D causes rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. The vitamin deficiency can cause weak bones and muscles, increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, asthma, cancer or cognitive impairment. It can also cause bone pain and depression. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked with calcium deficiency as vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium.
WHY IS VITAMIN D NECESSARY?
Vitamin is essential for strong bones, as it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Vitamin D promotes the growth of strong muscles, lowers blood pressure, eases fibromyalgia pain and slows the progression of multiple sclerosis. It also prevents and treats type1 and type2 diabetes, hypertension & glucose intolerance. The list is never-ending
CAUSES OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
Vitamin D deficiency can be due to a number of reasons:
- You don’t consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over the time: when you follow a strict vegan diet because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk you increase the risk of the deficiency.
- Your exposure to sunlight is very limited: your body makes vitamin when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You are at a risk of deficiency when you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long clothes or head coverings for religious reasons, or work in night shifts.
- You have a dark skin. The excess melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Old adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency.
- Your kidneys aren’t able to convert vitamin D: Kidneys of aged people aren’t able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.
- Your digestive tract cannot absorb vitamin D: Certain medical problems, including Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease affect your intestine’s ability to absorb vitamin D from the food.
- You are obese: Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release in the circulation. People with BMI of 30 or more often have low blood levels of vitamin D.
SOURCES OF VITAMIN D
Vitamin D2 can be found in fortified dairy, egg yolk, fatty fish, cheese, tofu, mushrooms, oatmeal, whole milk etc. You can get your fix of vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol through direct sun exposure, it helps in better absorption of calcium — a crucial nutrient for strong bones.
On an average, a person needs 600iu of Vitamin D per day. Just a few minutes outdoors in the sun with some skin exposed can help you meet those needs. Make sure to wear sunscreen if you are spending an extended amount of time outdoors, as excess sun exposure can contribute to your risk of skin cancer.
RELATED: BEST VEGAN PROTEIN SOURCES
If you are unable to get regular sun exposure because of your geographic location, weather conditions or night shifts, consider taking a vitamin D supplement. You also have to fix your nutrition if you are vitamin D deficient. Following a meal plan would help you in a lot of ways including fixing your hair fall, acne, weight loss or weight gain or any diseases. Good food and nutrition is the key solution for all your deficiencies.