Mansi Chaudhary explains how the lack of Vitamin D affects your health and what you can do about it.
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for our overall health, but many people are not getting enough of it.
An expensive test can determine if you are getting enough of the vitamin.
Every day, new studies highlight why Vitamin D is important.
The main purpose of Vitamin D is to keep adequate calcium and phosphorous in our blood, so that these two nutrients can keep our bones strong.
A lack of Vitamin D leads to less absorption of calcium and phosphorous. This leads to brittle bones.
Reasons why Vitamin D is so important
1) To prevent bone fractures
2) To prevent osteoporosis
3) To reduce the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer
4) To reduce the risk of diabetes, especially in young people and those living in high altitude locations
5) To protect against heart diseases such as high blood pressure and heart failure
6) To reduce risk of multiple sclerosis
7) To improve one's mood
8) To improve lung function
If one doesn't get enough Vitamin D
1) Bones become weak and can break
2) Children can get rickets, a disease that prevents their bones from growing properly
3) Adults can develop osteomalacia, a disease that weakens the bones
How much Vitamin D does one need?
Most experts say that people should take much more of this vitamin. Also, exposure to sunlight is very important.
1) All children and adults need 800 to 1,000 units of Vitamin D every day.
2) People older than 65 probably need even more than 1,000 units because they don't spend much time in the sun and their bodies don't absorb vitamins the way it used to earlier.
3) People who are at a risk of developing Vitamin D deficiency and those who are already Vitamin D deficient.
Best Sources of Vitamin D
While the sun is the best source of vitamin D, too much exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. And too little exposure leads to deficiency.
The best remedy is a combination of a short time under the sun and daily Vitamin D supplements.
Foods rich in Vitamin D
1) Cod liver oil
3) Sardines/tuna fish
5) Milk pudding
8) Swiss cheese
Who is at risk of Vitamin D deficiency?
1) Infants who are only breast fed or who get less than 2 cups each day of vitamin D.
2) People with dark skin (which does not absorb sunlight as well as light skin).
3) People who use sunscreen often.
4) People who have medicinal conditions that interfere with their body's ability to absorb fat, such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease or pancreatitis.
5) People who have liver or kidney problems.
6) People who live in northern hemisphere in the winter months.
7) People who take certain medicines like anti-seizure drugs or steroids.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
Brittle bones, fatigue, muscle pain, depression, impaired wound healing. hair loss and low immunity.
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Photograph: Kind courtesy Sonarika Bhadoria/Instagram