Author Cheryl has been in healthcare for over 30 years. Her knowledge coupled with experience allows her to give advice on some subjects.
Why Do We Need Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system. Vitamin D also plays major roles in the life cycle of human cells (web md).
Vitamin D fights off disease. Not having enough Vitamin D can lead to Multiple Sclerosis.
Vitamin D wards off depression. Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms (health line).
Vitamin D boost weight loss. In one study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.
In another study, overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk markers.
Vitamin D For the Soul
How Do People That Live in Sunny Places Lack Vitamin D
Vitamin D isn't a vitamin like we think of other vitamins. It's a hormone. The main way we receive it is from the sun directly hitting our skin.
Your skin can make a ton of Vitamin D when out in the sun. Seems easy right? The truth is we have had it drilled in our heads that being in the sun causes skin cancer, so we use sun block to avoid the nasty C word. That statement is true. Being in the sun and bad sunburn as a child can lead to skin cancer.
You need 2 hours of sun per day in the winter and 20 minutes a day in the summer. Research from the University of Florida recommends 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week to meet vitamin D requirements. For optimal absorption, the sun needs to directly hit the skin on the face, arms, back or legs without sunscreen blocking the ray.
I live in Florida one of the sunniest places in the United States. So why am I Vitamin D deficient? I don't stay out in the sun long enough to reap its benefits. I have never been a sun bather since becoming an adult. Actually I hate being out in the hot sun in the summer but I also use sun screen spf 90 so I don't get sun burned and that causes me not to be able to absorb Vitamin D through my skin.
Rickets From Vitamin D Deficiency
What is the Rickets
Rickets is a childhood bone disorder where bones soften and become prone to fractures and deformity. It is rare in industrialized nations, but fairly common in some developing countries.
Most children who get the Rickets are those who live in poor areas and do not receive enough Vitamin D and Calcium. We may see people and call them bow legged but if they are older adults, they probably did not get enough Vitamin D and Calcium as a child making the bones soft and bending.
Is the Rickets curable? The lack of Vitamin D can be reversed but the damage that the lack of Vitamin D and Calcium have done is not reversible.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
Foods and Natural Ways to Get Vitamin D
Let's face it most people do not get the vitamins they need from food because our diets basically suck. There are foods that you can eat to help get your dose of Vitamin D everyday.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
There are also fortified foods that you can consume to get Vitamin D such as
Other dairy products, such as yogurt and cottage cheese
These foods have added Vitamin D. But eating them is not giving you your entire dose of Vitamin D. If you are Vitamin D deficient your doctor will probably tell you to take supplements along with your diet.
What Factors Contribute to Vitamin D Deficiency
A lot of Vitamin D deficiency may have to do where you live. Places that have high buildings block the sun. Living in an area with high pollution blocks the suns rays from getting to our skin. We spend too much time indoors. Yes I am guilty of that. The pollen her in Florida is horrible. I would rather take a supplement then breathe in a large dose of pollen. Having darker skin can also be a cause of Vitamin D deficiency. If your skin is dark the sun can not absorb through your skin.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Getting colds or upper respiratory infections a lot, fatigue and tiredness, bone and back pain, depression, impaired wound healing, bone loss, hair loss and muscle pain are all symptoms you may be vitamin D deficient. Don't go consuming large doses of Vitamin D unless you have had blood work done and it is verified by your physician. Over doing Vitamin D can have very bad side affects.
Taking too much Vitamin D can result in elevated blood levels, hyper calcinemia or too much calcium can cause digestive distress, such as vomiting, nausea and stomach pain, fatigue, dizziness and confusion, excessive thirst and frequent urination.
Before you ever take any kind of supplements or medications, you should always ask your doctor. Simple blood test can confirm whether or not you are deficient in any vitamins.
Vitamins play an important roll in our bodies. Having too much or too little can have really bad side affects. It is important to talk to your doctor about starting any new vitamins or medications. This could be brought up at your annual check up.
I had weight loss surgery so I need to take vitamins daily. Not everyone needs them. Just consult with your doctor and he or she can steer you in the right direction if you are vitamin deficient.
internationalearn on December 16, 2011:
Short but straight to the point, Christmas has become quite a "material" holiday and we tend to forget what really matters. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.