It’s summer and you’re probably soakin’ up the sun! Despite spending time outside and eating the right foods, you are likely deficient in Vitamin D. The facts prove it! According the San Francisco Gate, 42% of Americans are lacking Vitamin D. This deficiency must be taken seriously because the health consequences can cause terrible (even deadly!) side effects that include autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and cancer.
There are some groups of people that are more likely to have Vitamin D deficiency. According to the Vitamin D Council, you should be hyper aware if:
You work indoors all day. Unlike our ancestors, most of us have a job where we sit inside all day. Unfortunately, there’s no sun inside, so this type of lifestyle is terrible for getting your Vitamin D.
You don’t miss a day without sunscreen. Are you religious about your sunscreen use because you don’t want to get melanoma, the deadliest type of cancer? Are floppy beach hats and long maxi dresses your go-to outfits during the summer? Although these techniques can save you from skin cancer and premature aging, they come at the cost of having low Vitamin D.
Your winters are rough. Are your winters grey and dingy? Those who live in the Northern parts of the United States are prone to low Vitamin D levels due to the short winter days and lack of sunshine. The farther you are from the equator, the higher chance you have a Vitamin D deficiency.
You are pregnant. Pregnant women must keep their Vitamin D levels up. This is important in the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. A deficiency can even cause skeletal deformities. (via babycenter.com)
You breast feed. If you rely solely on breast milk to feed your baby, beware—infants that are fed breast milk alone are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D.
You are overweight. There have been many studies that prove a definite link between obesity and Vitamin D deficiency.
The connection between Vitamin D and major diseases has been a hot topic in the science world lately. It’s amazing that simply taking a Vitamin D supplement can prevent major health diseases. These include:
Alzheimer’s Disease: David J. Llewellyn of the University of Exeter Medical School recently conducted a ground breaking study that confirms the link between Vitamin D deficiency and Alzheimer’s. The statistics are alarming; moderate deficiency of Vitamin D increased risk of Alzheimer’s by 69%. Severe deficiency raised the risk to 122%. (via the Washington Post)
Multiple Sclerosis: MS is an unpredictable disease. It’s hard to know who will get it and when it will strike. There is also no cure. However, scientists have recently seen an interesting pattern in their MS patients. They found that those with Vitamin D deficiencies are at higher risk to develop MS. Additionally, those who took Vitamin D supplements when diagnosed found it slowed the progression of this horrible disease. This may be why people that live closer to the equator have a lower incidence of MS. (via National Institutes of Health)
Osteoporosis: Vitamin D is essential in protecting the health of your bones. It aids in the absorption of calcium, which helps to build strong bones. Severe Vitamin D deficiency is likely to cause broken bones, low bone density, fractures, and rickets as one ages. (via National Osteoporosis Foundation)
Whether you do or don’t have Vitamin D deficiency doesn’t have to be a mystery! It is a simple prick of the finger you can get at your doctor’s office or even with an at-home kit. If you don’t have time to get tested, it is recommended by the Vitamin D Council to take at least 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D per day.