Vitamins are compounds that, when ingested, promote good body function. Those belonging to group B, for example, are associated with neuronal health; Therefore, when you take these types of vitamins you are helping to improve brain functions. And so with all of them.
Maintaining the recommended levels of all the vitamin groups is imperative for overall good health. Consequently, the lack of any of them must be treated immediately to reduce the risks of suffering from diseases associated with their deficiencies.
Today we are going to focus on one in particular: the D is sure to be familiar to you! This vitamin has several important functions in our body :
- Helps absorb calcium and phosphorus from the intestines.
- It suppresses the release of parathyroid hormone, a hormone that causes the breakdown of bone tissue.
- Through these actions, it helps maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood, thus promoting bone health.
- Improves muscle and immune function.
Due to its importance in our general health, today we present everything you need to know about a lack of vitamin D and how to prevent it.
Who can suffer from a lack of vitamin D?
Vitamin D is obtained mainly from sun exposure of the skin and, to a lesser extent, from food .
Older people are more at risk of vitamin D deficiency, since their body does not synthesize this vitamin well when they are in the sun, and also due to their lack of mobility. Also, your kidneys are unable to metabolize it properly.
Other people who are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency include:
- Those with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or cystic fibrosis, because their absorption capacity in the intestine is lower.
- Those who take drugs that alter metabolism.
- Those who are overweight.
- Pregnant women and babies breastfed by mothers with vitamin D deficiency.
- Those with kidney failure.
- Those with darker skin, as they do not absorb as much UV radiation.
- Those who spend little time in the sun or do so with sunscreen.
Symptoms of a lack of vitamin D
The symptoms of a lack of vitamin D are difficult to distinguish and, many times, they are confused with those of other conditions , such as aging, some nutritional deficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
So the best way to make sure that you suffer from a lack of vitamin in the body is to do an analysis.
Still, it is essential to consult your doctor when symptoms like these appear:
Tiredness or fatigue
This general exhaustion and fatigue can affect the ability to work normally , affecting the quality of life of the person. However, this symptom is very common in our daily lives, since many of us are exhausted by childcare, work, or lack of sleep. That is why it is important to identify the root cause of these signs and symptoms.
You may feel muscle weakness because you’ve been exercising or restricting your calories to lose weight. Maybe you haven’t had enough sleep. But if you feel like your muscle strength is suffering , mention it to your doctor, especially if you experience it along with other symptoms on this list.
This is one of the most common and serious symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Specifically, studies show that back pain is likely to be specifically experienced . There is also a softening of the bones, such as rickets -in children- and osteomalacia -in adults.
Is it a seasonal affective disorder or a lack of vitamin D? It can be difficult to know, but research has found a connection between a deficiency of this nutrient and anxiety and depression, although it cannot be guaranteed that one causes the other.
But what is clear is that many people with depression report relief from their symptoms when they take vitamin D supplements .
There seems to be an association between low D and alopecia areata , a disease characterized by severe hair loss.
Inability to heal wounds.
If even minor nicks and cuts take forever to heal, it could be a signal for you to check nutrient levels in your body, indirectly helping wounds heal.
There is an association between low vitamin D levels and increased belly fat and waist circumference . So correcting this deficiency can also help you lose weight. Waist circumference, hip circumference, weight, and BMI decreased in patients who received vitamin D supplements.
The importance of detecting a lack of vitamin D early is that many diseases associated with its deficiency can be prevented.
Risks associated with a lack of vitamin D
Some of the pathologies that can occur if this deficit is not treated in time are:
Clinical trials highlight the ability of vitamin D to lower the risk of catching a cold or the flu or developing asthma ; therefore, its lack favors the appearance of certain respiratory diseases.
Supplementation might even reduce some symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Researchers have observed time and again the protective quality of vitamin D against cardiovascular disease, although it is not clear what mechanism causes this to occur.
But you don’t have to understand how it works to know that not getting too much vitamin D can increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, and heart failure, as well as having a heart attack.
People with mental disorders have lower blood levels of vitamin D than those without these conditions within the same age group. And it is noteworthy to mention that supplementation helps to improve this condition.
If there’s one role for vitamin D that most people know about, it’s that it supports bone health by preventing bone loss from conditions like osteoporosis. This is because it increases the absorption of calcium in the intestine and plays an integral role in the remodeling of the bones .
Therefore, there is a strong relationship between low blood serum vitamin D levels and low bone mineral density. Vitamin D deficiency can also cause osteomalacia, or softening of the bones.
One of the abilities of this vitamin is to maintain glucose homeostasis , so its deficiency can have negative consequences.
How to increase vitamin D levels
There are three ways to increase vitamin D levels in the body, so your doctor will advise you on the way to follow. These are:
Expose to the sun
Our smart bodies can create vitamin D on their own when our skin is exposed to enough sunlight. Unfortunately, not in all places there is enough sunlight.
To obtain this vitamin it is not necessary to tan the skin, but to expose it to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays for at least 15 minutes a day . But spending more time in the sun will not increase vitamin D levels, as the body can only absorb a limited amount, but it does increase the risk of skin cancer.
The color of the skin also plays a role. Pale complexions produce vitamin D more quickly than darker skin types.
Don’t you have a lot of sun? Consider a UV-B lamp, which will mimic natural sunlight.
Eat more foods that contain vitamin D
Like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, spinach, beef liver, and egg yolk .
The problem is that in most foods, the presence of this compound is relatively low. That is why the diet of most people does not contain sufficient amounts and supplementation is necessary.
This also highlights another problem: it is very difficult for vegetarians and vegans to meet their needs through diet. As you can see, most of the foods to increase vitamin D are found in non-vegan food. A high-quality vegan supplement can help solve this problem.
Take vitamin supplements
Always under medical supervision , since taking too much can cause toxicity.
There are many alternatives that allow you to incorporate vitamin D and even improve its absorption. Of course, you should consult a doctor to assess your health, check your levels in the body and rule out any other disease.
The lack of vitamin D should be treated as soon as possible, since as we have seen, it increases the risk of suffering from certain diseases.
What is the ideal amount for a perfect state of health?
When it comes to vitamin D, you don’t talk about “average” or “normal”: you have to go “big.” Years pass and research progressively increases the recommended range . Often times the standard used in testing as “normal” is not up to date with the most current information, in our article on vitamin D , we talked in general terms about everything that vitamin D entails, both on a positive and negative level.
At the moment, as assessed by healthy populations that received plenty of natural sunlight, the ideal range for general health appears to be somewhere between 50 and 70 ng / ml.
|Deficiency||<50 ng / ml|
|Well||50-70 ng / ml|
|Great (especially for treating cancer and heart disease)||70-100 ng / ml|
|Excess||> 100 ng / ml|
As for how to optimize your vitamin D levels, controlled sun exposure is still the best. If your circumstances do not allow it, you should take a vitamin D supplement. As a general guide, GrassrootsHealth research suggests that adults should ideally consume around 8000 IU per day to achieve synthesizing at least 40 ng / ml.
People most prone to a vitamin D deficiency should see a doctor regularly, as should those who have symptoms associated with this problem. Sun exposure, foods that contain vitamin D, and vitamin supplements are the best way to increase your levels.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.