Despite the positive discoveries related to the benefits of vitamin D, a number of questions remain. Many experts are still unsure as to the extent vitamin D deficiency plays in disease development. Many experts also disagree on whether or not supplementation or sun exposure is best. And, there are differing opinions on how much vitamin D is necessary. Regardless of the finer details, one thing is for certain — upwards of 75% of the American population is vitamin D deficient, there ARE consequences, and it’s a problem that can only be described as pandemic.
Are You Vitamin D Deficient?
Vitamin D levels (termed 25(OH)D, or 25 Hydroxyvitamin D) are measured using a simple blood test that your doctor can order. There are also simple, inexpensive at-home tests available that use an easy blood “spot” to provide an estimation. Checking your levels at least once per year is recommended, yet some people are more diligent. Given that vitamin D deficiencies have been associated with an increased risk of common cancers, bone disorders, autoimmune disease, hypertension, and infectious diseases, it’s not a bad idea to stay on top of it. If you’re getting your vitamin D levels checked, the guidelines to determine your status are as follows:
- Deficient: Less than 20 ng/mL
- Insufficient: 20-30 ng/mL
- Optimal: 40-70 ng/mL
Are You At Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency?
With upwards of 75% of the population already heading toward vitamin D deficiency, some might say it’s a safe bet to consider nearly everyone else at risk for vitamin D deficiency, right? It really begs the question, why is this such a problem? In the simplest terms the main natural source of vitamin D is sun exposure. What are most people told to avoid or they’ll get skin cancer? Sun exposure.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D isn’t an optional nutrient, our bodies need it, and without it, problems can arise. Many people go through life with nagging aches and pains, allergies, malaise, and a general lack of vitality. Such nonspecific symptoms can be the result of one, or several factors, and vitamin D deficiency is one of them. Specific symptoms related to vitamin D deficiency include:
- Muscle weakness
- Joint aches and discomfort
- High blood pressure
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Urinary incontinence, bladder issues
- Cold/flu, immune system decline
- Mood disorders
More serious diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency include:
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Periodontal disease
- Neurological diseases
Make Sure You Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplementation can help fill the gaps when you don’t get enough sunlight, and there are a few foods that contain vitamin D but they’re not the most reliable, however, they are still important to include in your diet.
The Top Foods Containing Vitamin D
- Shiitake and Button Mushrooms
- Sockeye Salmon
- Cod Liver Oil
If you are feeling any of the symptoms listed above, and believe you may be Vitamin D deficient, get tested. It’s important because the long term effects can be serious to your overall health.
Source: Global Healing Center