Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins needed to stay healthy and active. Known as the “sunshine vitamin”, it is derived from sun exposure and helps to promote strong and healthy bones. Our bodies also need vitamin D help absorb calcium.
There are several factors which can cause someone to become vitamin D deficient including:
Working long hours inside
Using sunblock when outside. This one is tricky because we know should always use it to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Take a look below for clarification.
If someone is vitamin D deficient, they are suspect to many serious medical issues. Children may develop a disorder called rickets, which results in soft bones making them prone to fractures. In addition to this, a deficiency of vitamin D has been associated with:
Increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease
Research has shown that individuals with high levels of vitamin D have an overall lower risk of developing these diseases. With regard to dementia, in 2014 research studies demonstrated that older patients who suffered from moderate to severe vitamin D deficiency had twice the risk of developing specific types of dementia. The 1,600 dementia-free subjects ages ranged between 65 years and older. The participants with lower levels of vitamin D had an increased risk of 53 percent of developing some form of dementia. Shockingly, individuals who were severely deficient had an increased risk of 125 percent.
Another interesting study published in 2014 showed that men who were moderately to severely deficient in vitamin D, also had severe symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Those who had slightly lower levels than normal only suffered mildly from this very common problem.
The best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is to get outside into sunshine since our bodies naturally make it when exposed to sunlight. Keep in mind, a little goes a long way and you only 10 or 15 minutes a day. You can also eat foods that are rich in vitamin D including milk, yogurt and cheese.Tuna and salmon are also excellent sources of vitamin D. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, be sure to eat foods that are fortified with vitamin D.
The best way to be sure you don’t have a vitamin D deficiency is a simple blood test performed by your physician.