Vitamin D is an essential part of a healthy, functioning body. Not getting enough of it may lead to a deficiency that can negatively impact many of the body's systems. A combination of diet, sunlight exposure, and nutritional supplements can help you obtain the vitamin D you need. The following guide explains what you should know about vitamin D deficiencies and how to avoid them.
Why Vitamin D Is Important
Perhaps the most well-known role of vitamin D is promoting strong and healthy bones. Your body needs this vitamin to absorb calcium, which helps prevent bone problems like fractures and osteoporosis. Without it, your bones can become thin and brittle. In addition to bone health, vitamin D strengthens muscles, supports the immune system, and fights inflammation.
Symptoms of a Deficiency
The consequences of vitamin D deficiencies can be uncomfortable and affect your quality of life. You may feel fatigued throughout the day or get sick more often than normal. Your muscles might feel achy or cramp without strenuous activity, and bone and back pain are also common symptoms. A vitamin D deficiency may even increase the risk of depression, especially in older adults.
Sources of Vitamin D
Most of the vitamin D you need comes from the sun. Your body produces the vitamin when your skin absorbs the sun's rays. However, from fall through spring, many people cannot get sufficient vitamin D due to a decrease in sunny days, wearing clothing with more coverage, and the tendency to stay indoors to avoid the cold. Sunscreen, while important to prevent skin cancer, also decreases our body's ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun.
To prevent a deficiency, you can fulfill your vitamin D requirements through food and nutritional supplements. Not many foods naturally contain vitamin D, but it can be found in red meat, milk, yogurt, cheese, egg yolks, oily fish like salmon and mackerel, and fortified foods like bread and breakfast cereals.
Causes for Deficiency
Some demographics are more vulnerable to vitamin D deficiencies than others. Since sunlight must be absorbed through the skin, darker skin tones can reduce the body’s ability to create the vitamin. Health conditions like cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease often make it harder for the body to absorb it. Kidney and liver disease can interfere with converting vitamin D into a form that the body can use. People who are older or spend more time indoors are also at a higher risk. It's important to have your vitamin D level checked with a simple lab test. If you're low, you can take steps to bring it to healthy levels.
If you think you might have a vitamin D deficiency, visit Broeg Chiropractic & Nutrition Center to evaluate your risk and symptoms. Located in Florence, KY, this chiropractor takes a personalized approach to your health with custom treatment plans. Their nutritional services utilize functional, holistic, and integrative medicine to determine the best eating and nutritional supplement program for you. Visit their website to learn more about their nutrition services. To get started on your journey to better health, schedule a consultation at (859)-525-2020.
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