Vitamin D deficiency is caused in people who shun away from the sun, those who are lactose intolerant or those who follow a strict vegan diet. Vitamin D is produced within the body as a response to the skin being exposed to sunlight, and hence this is also known as the sunshine vitamin. You can also naturally derive Vitamin D from few foods such as fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks. Vitamin D can also be found in fortified dairy and grain products.
Vitamin D is highly essential for healthy bones as it supports the body by making use of calcium procured from your diet. Initially, the deficiency of Vitamin D was thought to lead to causing Rickets which is a disease of the bone tissues that doesn’t mineralize which was thought to lead to causing soft bones and skeletal deformities. However, as per recent research and modern studies, it has been revealed that the Vitamin D is of high importance to the body and helps to protect against a host of health issues.
What Are the Symptoms And Health Issues Of Vitamin D Deficiency?
Bone pain and muscle weakness are the common symptoms caused due to lack of Vitamin D. But many of you may find these symptoms faintly. You also need to know that there are times when you might not face any symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency, yet it can pose a health risk. There are low blood levels of Vitamin have been linked with the following:
- There is a higher risk of death due to cardiovascular disease
- Older adults make face issues of cognitive impairment
- Children are prone to a severe asthma attack
As per scientific research, it has been proved that Vitamin D plays a major role in the prevention and also works as a treatment plan in health conditions. These health conditions are inclusive of type1 and type2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.
What Are The Causes Of Vitamin D Deficiency?
There are various reasons that lead to causing Vitamin D deficiency. These are:
- Your body requires consuming the recommended levels of vitamins. However, if you follow a strict vegan diet, it is unlikely for you to face this deficiency. Most of the natural sources of Vitamin D are animal based such as fish, fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk and beef liver.
- Sunlight plays a vital role to provide you with Vitamin D. If your exposure to sunlight is limited, you may be at risk of deficiency. Sunlight helps the body make vitamin D. People who live in northern latitudes or those who wear long robe’s or head covering for a various religious reason do not get enough sunlight exposure and hence prone to develop Vitamin D deficiency.
- Darker skin does not have sufficient ability to absorb sunlight. The pigmentation melanin is responsible for reducing the capacity of the skin to produce vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. There have been studies which state that in older adults who have darker skin are at higher risk to develop Vitamin D deficiency.
- The kidneys are unable to convert Vitamin D to its active form. As you age, the kidneys fail to convert the Vitamin D within the body, and this leads to causing the deficiency.
- There are certain medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease which affects your intestines. These do not allow your digestive tract to adequately absorb Vitamin D from the diet which has been consumed.
- Apart from various health issues that are caused due to obesity, it also leads to Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by the fat cells by altering its release into the circulation. It has been noticed that people who have a body mass index of 30 or greater have low blood levels of vitamin D.
What Are The Tests Of Vitamin D Deficiency?
One of the most accurate ways to measure the levels of Vitamin D in the body is to get the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test done. Adequate healthy levels of Vitamin D should vary from 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL. A level which is lower than 12ng/mL directly indicates low Vitamin D levels.
What Is The Treatment Plan For Vitamin D Deficiency?
A healthy diet along with the right supplementation works out as a good treatment plan for low Vitamin D levels. There is no concrete consensus on Vitamin D levels requirement towards maintaining optimal health conditions. It is likely to differ depending on the age and health conditions. In most cases, a concentration which is less than 20 nanograms per milliliter requires treatment as it is considered inadequate.
As per the guidelines from the Institute of Medicine, there has been an increment in the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D to 600 international units (IU). This is specifically for all of the ages from 1-70 and further raised to 800 international units from adults over the age of 70. This helps with regards to the optimization of bone health. There has been a safe upper limit which was also raised to 4000 international units. More than 4000 international units are prescribed by doctors to correct Vitamin D deficiency.
If you are unable to spend too much time in the sun or protect your skin by covering it, you should discuss this with your doctor and find out about ways to boost your Vitamin D levels.