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Posted on 10-26-2015

Everyone Thinks We Should Be Avoiding the Sun. Find Out Why They’re Wrong.

Author: Amanda Fuller

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is referred to as a group of fat-soluble secosteroids that aid in the intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. It can produced by the body in response to being exposed to sunlight. It also happens to occur naturally in some foods including some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks and fortified dairy and grain products.

Why is it important?

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones. It helps the body use calcium from the diet. In the past, deficiencies were merely associated with diseases such as rickets (in children), which leads to soft bones and osteomalacia (in adults), which leads to fragile, misshapen bones. However, in the recent years, research suggests that it also plays a role in the prevention and treatment of a whole host of other health problems. It has been known to improve the condition of patients with type 1 & 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis. Some believe it may help protect against common colds and also fight depression. It is also needed for many other body functions. Low blood levels of Vitamin D have even been associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children and cancer.

Are you at risk for a Vitamin D-ficiency?

If you avoid the sun, have darker skin, follow a strict vegan diet and/or have milk allergies, you may be at risk. People over the age of 50 also tend to be at risk, as well as overweight and obese people. Although symptoms are usually subtle, bone aches and muscle weakness, head sweating and gut trouble are a few common symptoms you may want to be aware of.  

Causes of D-ficiency

Many people may not consume the recommended levels of Vitamin D through their diets. They may also keep their exposure to sunlight limited. Darker skin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight (pigment melanin). Many people suffering from Crohn’s, Cystic Fibrosis and/or Celiac disease may also have difficulty absorbing the vitamin. The same can be said for people suffering from kidney and digestive track disorders.

Treatment for D-ficiency

Suggestions may differ based on age and health conditions, so if you think you may have a deficiency, be sure to consult with a doctor before making any major changes to your lifestyle. You can always start by taking supplements, and of course try incorporating more Vitamin D-rich foods into your diet. You should also get outside and enjoy the sunshine Vitamin. Summer is here and what better time to get your Vitamin D on!  

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