Typically Vitamin C gets all the hype for being the healthiest vitamin for your body (1), and all the other Vitamins are important too, but if you ignore your body’s Vitamin D needs you’re going to be in a ton of trouble (more than you probably realize).
That’s because Vitamin D is crucial for your body to function (2). Your body will produce it naturally in response to sunlight – but if you don’t get a lot of natural sun, eat strictly vegan, or don’t drink milk or eat cheese , you’re very much at risk to be Vitamin D deficient.
Well, your body needs lots of Vitamin D in order to keep your bones strong – because Vitamin D helps your body to use calcium. Vitamin D deficiencies can cause rickets disease, which can cause soft bones and skeletal deformities.
And that’s not all…
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What Vitamin D Deficiency Does To Your Body
Guys, it is bad news to have a Vitamin D deficiency. If you have symptoms like bone pain and muscle weakness, it could mean that you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D.
If you don’t have enough Vitamin D in your blood supply, it could lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, severe terrible asthma in children, cognitive impairment in adults, and even cancer.
Plus, Vitamin D can help protect against type 1 and type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension and glucose intolerance. It’s a super important vitamin.
Why You Might Be Vitamin D Deficient
So what are some reasons you might not have enough Vitamin D in your body?
Well, over a long period of time, you might not be eating enough Vitamin D in your diet. This is especially likely if you strictly eat vegan, as you’ll mostly find Vitamin D in animal products like beef liver, fish and fish oils, cheese, fortified milk, and egg yolks.
Another reason you could be Vitamin D deficient is because you’re not getting enough sunlight. Your body will naturally make Vitamin D in your skin when exposed to sunlight – so if you stay inside a lot, wear clothes that cover your entire body, or work in an office where you don’t get sun, you might need to get more sunlight to get more Vitamin D.
A third reason people become Vitamin D deficient is when they have dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D – so if you have darker skin that could reduce the amount of vitamin D your body gets from sunlight.
Another cause of Vitamin D deficiency comes from inefficient kidneys. As we grow older, our kidneys are less efficient at using Vitamin D to help your body – so as you age your risk of Vitamin D deficiency goes up.
If you have a chronic disease like Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or celiac disease, your digestive tract might not be able to absorb Vitamin D as effectively as it should, which could cause a deficiency.
Finally, people who are obese are at increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Because your body extracts Vitamin D from your blood by using fat cells, when you have too many fat cells it disrupts your body’s natural ingestion and use of Vitamin D.
Testing And Treatment
If you want to test and see if your body is Vitamin D deficient, the best test is to do a 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test. If you’ve got between 20 and 50 nanograms/milliliter, then you’ve got enough. If you’ve got less than 12 nanograms/milliliter, you’re Vitamin D deficient.
If you guessed that in order to cure a Vitamin D deficiency, you have to ingest and get more Vitamin D, you made a good guess. Typically, you ingest more vitamin D through your diet and supplements.
Everyone under the age of 70 has a recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D of 600 IU (international units). If you’re over the age of 70, that daily recommended dosage is raised to 800 IU. Furthermore – the maximum safe amount of Vitamin D you can ingest in a day is capped at 4,000 IU.
Vitamin D supplements can be taken – but only if you don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, or you always cover your skin when you’re outside. Talk to your doctor about Vitamin D supplements if you’re worried about being deficient.
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