What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency
There are a few factors that may interfere with your ability to get your levels to optimal.
- Living in Minnesota We just dont get enough sun, in fact even on sunny spring and fall days the suns angle isnt high enough for your skin to absorb the UVB rays.
- Dark skin The darker the skin the higher the melanin. Melanin works as a natural sunscreen which is great for the prevention of skin cancer and wrinkles, not so great for the production of vitamin D.
- Obesity Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is happy to stick around in your fat cells rather than circulate around your body doing its various jobs.
- Age As we age it becomes more of a challenge for the body to convert vitamin D into its most usable form.
Sunlight And Vitamin D: Autoimmunity Protection
There are a variety of association studies demonstrating that being born or living near the equator reduces risk of several autoimmune diseases.73,134–139 Being born and living for the first 10 y at a latitude of ~40° North compared with ~33° North increases a person’s risk of developing multiple sclerosis by 100% .134,140,141 Munger et al.142 made the observation that high circulating levels of 25D were associated with a lower risk of multiple sclerosis and that women who had an intake of vitamin D of 400 IU vitamin D per day reduced their risk of developing multiple sclerosis by more than 40%.143
Figure 62. Prevalence of multiple sclerosis by latitude in the United States according to data from Noonan et al.140 and Wallin et al.141 . The dashed line is a quadratic fit to the data from Noonan et al.,140 and the solid line is a fit to the data from Wallin et al.141 Reproduced with permission from.134
A plot of the incidence of type 1 diabetes vs. latitude demonstrated an impressive U-shaped curve. Children younger than 14 y during 19901994 in 51 regions worldwide demonstrated a 1015 fold increase in risk for developing type 1 diabetes if they were born in far Northern and Southern latitudes .144
Figure 64. Incidence rate of type 1 diabetes diagnosed at or before 14 y of age in Finland. Reproduced with permission from.271
Get Enough Vitamin D Without The Risk Of Sunburn
- Fish liver oils – cod
- Fish – mackerel, halibut, salmon, sardines and tuna
- Dairy products – butter and milk
- Sprouted seeds – sunflower seeds
- Healthy children under 1 year of age 1,000 IU
- Healthy children over 1 year of age 1,000 IU per every 11kg of body weight
- Healthy adults and adolescents at least 5,000 IU
- Pregnant and lactating mothers – at least 6,000 IU
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How To Safely Get Vitamin D From The Sun
Its essential to always follow proper measures on how to get vitamin D from the sun while trying to avoid skin damage. The best way to do that is by wearing sunscreen in order to protect your skin while still getting those much-needed rays. Read on to learn about the appropriate amount of sunlight you need, the safest ways to go about getting your daily dose of vitamin D , why its so important, and more.
How Can I Get Enough Vitamin D
Assuming youre practicing sun safety by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, seeking shade and covering up, your doctor may advise you to take a vitamin D supplement in addition to consuming fortified foods and beverages.
Vitamin D3 is generally considered the preferred form of supplement. The recommended dietary allowance for adults up to age 70 is 600 IU. For adults over the age of 70, it jumps to 800 IU. Certain people may need to take more. If you have osteoporosis or any risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, your doctor may want to check your vitamin D levels with a blood test.
As with most supplements, more is not better. Its very possible to take too much vitamin D, which can be toxic at high doses. The Institute of Medicine of The National Academies suggests a tolerable upper intake level of 4,000 IU per day. Most people need far less.
The bottom line: Dont get your sunshine vitamin from the sun. Get it from oily fish, supplements and fortified foods and beverages.
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So Here Are The 3 Secrets
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Disorders Caused By Prolonged Vitamin D Deficiency
If vitamin D deficiency continues for a long time may result in health complications.Some of the health complications caused by vitamin D deficiency are discussed below
Osteomalacia is a disease that mainly affects adults and is mainly brought about by vitamin D deficiency in the body. This disorder alters the absorption of calcium in the body and also leads to a continuous loss of calcium from the bones. This condition makes adults have weak and soft bones. This disorder is characterized by weak and soft bones, bending of the backbone, weakening of body muscles, bone fragility that comes as a result of weak bones, and bowing of legs.
However, this condition can be alleviated by exposing your skin to sunlight so as to obtain vitamin D.
Rickets is a condition in infants and young children that is brought about by a deficiency of vitamin D in the body. This condition is characterized by soft, weak, and deformed long bones. Rickets may be caused by the lack of other nutrients in the body, but vitamin D deficiency remains the main cause among infants and children. Breastfeeding milk with a low level of Vitamin D may also lead to this condition.
However, if the condition is not serious, it can be alleviated by exposing the affected child to direct sunlight and giving them fortified milk.
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The Symptoms Of Deadly Condition That You Probably Think Only Affects Men
But only 11 per cent of children whose mothers took the high dose got a croup compared to 18 per cent in those whose mothers had a standard dose.
Dr Nicklas Brustad, a clinician and postdoctoral researcher who led the study, said: Our findings suggest that vitamin D and fish oil could be beneficial against childhood croup in sufficiently high doses.
These are relatively cheap supplements meaning that this could be a very cost-effective approach to improving young childrens health.
Dr Brustad, who presented the findings at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Barcelona, Spain, said it was not clear how these two vitamins were protective.
But it could be that they can stimulate the immune system to help babies and young children clear infections more effectively, he said.
Professor Rory Morty, who was not involved in the research, said lung health in small children can be influenced during pregnancy.
For example, babies whose mothers smoke tend to have worse lung health, said Prof Morty, chair of European Respiratory Societys lung and airway developmental biology group.
We are increasingly seeing that elements of a mothers diet can also help or hinder a babys lung development.
Pregnant women are advised to take vitamin D supplement by the NHS to keep the bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need
Vitamin D needs are more nuanced than you might think. As mbg’s director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, explains: “The question of daily vitamin D needs is directly informed by your vitamin D status, measured via serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D from a blood test, or for short, 25D.”
The National Academies recommend a cutoff of 20 ng/ml for sufficiency, while The Endocrine Society more recently vetted the science and recommended a 30 ng/ml cutoff. As Ferira expounds, “to be clear, these cut points are numbers to avoid. In other words, you want to exceed 30 ng/ml daily for most of your life to reap the full benefits of vitamin D for health.”* In fact, a vitamin D supplement less than 20 or 30 ng/ml is associated with suboptimal bone density .
To support your personal health, you’ll want to get familiar with your 25D levels, which means asking your health care provider for this simple blood test. This is the clinical measure of your whole-body vitamin D statusand necessary information if you want to track your baseline status and watch how optimizing your vitamin D intake makes a significant impact.*
Brittany Henderson, M.D., a board-certified endocrinologist who specializes in hormones in her clinical practice, shares that “achieving optimal serum 25D levels in the 50+ ng/ml range is imperative for immune health, bone health, and more.”*
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Whats The Best Time To Get Vitamin D From The Sun
The best time to absorb that coveted vitamin D is around noon, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky.4 This is good news for office workers, as it can be harder to sneak some sun into a daily routine if you find yourself stuck in an endless loop of indoor meetings. Take your lunch outside.
If you find that getting out and about is a little more difficult for you during the workday, try taking a quick walk around your office building, or in a nearby park if its easily accessible. Its no secret that endorphins work wonders. Some studies have even found that a lunchtime stroll may help improve your mood and, in turn, make you feel a little more enthusiastic about going back to work.5
Be sure to pack your favorite sneakers in your work bag and slip them on next time you have to work through lunch. Even just ten minutes can make a difference.
Who Should Take Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. According to the US National Center for Health Statistics, an estimated 70% of US citizens may be considered vitamin D deficient. In addition, according to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, elderly populations are particularly at risk of vitamin D deficiency, in part because aging depletes our bodies natural ability to naturally produce and absorb vitamin D.
Vitamin D supplements are ideal for people that are looking to maintain or increase their current vitamin D level. If you are deficient in vitamin D, a supplement will likely be the quickest and most effective way to increase your vitamin D levels.
When selecting a vitamin D supplement, you should search for a high quality product with transparent labeling. There are two types of vitamin D: D2 and D3 . If your doctor does not have a preference, you may want to begin with D3 because it is the naturally occurring form and it may raise your vitamin D level more effectively. If you have minor to moderate deficiency, a daily dose between 6001,000 IU will likely work well to negate your deficiency.
Did you know that natural supplement forms of D3 come from two sources? Vegetarian D3 is most commonly derived from sheep lanolin and vegan D3 can be derived from algae. These options make it easy to find a high quality supplement that works well for you.
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The Sun Is Your Best Source Of Vitamin D
Theres good reason why vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The suns ultraviolet B rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.
Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health .
For example, it instructs the cells in your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus two minerals that are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones (
In addition, only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D.
These include cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, canned tuna, beef liver, egg yolks and sardines. That said, you would need to eat them nearly every day to get enough vitamin D.
If you do not get enough sunlight, its often recommended to take a supplement like cod liver oil. One tablespoon of cod liver oil contains more than three times the recommended daily amount of vitamin D .
Its important to note that the suns UVB rays cannot penetrate through windows. So people who work next to sunny windows are still prone to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is made in the skin when its exposed to sunlight. Sun exposure is by far the best way to boost vitamin D levels, particularly because very few foods contain significant amounts.
Is There A Safe Level Of Sun Exposure
In an in-depth Cancer Research UK-funded study, Rhodes and her team looked at the impact of exposing 39 people of different skin types to low levels of UV. Would that be enough to generate vitamin D? And will this cause DNA damage in their cells that could lead to skin cancer?
Unlike previous studies, Rhodes gave participants UV doses related to their burning risk.
As the dose of UV increased towards their individual burning level, there was an increase in both vitamin D levels and DNA damage seen in skin samples. For all skin types these factors seem to be completely intertwined.
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Getting Enough Vitamin D You Need Far Less Sun Than You Might Think
- 4 minute read
The summer weather has surprised us and made getting your daily dose of vitamin D that much easier. But the sunny weather always prompts questions about how to enjoy it safely.
Most people know theres a balance to be struck when it comes to spending time out in the sun. Its UV rays that are the main cause of skin cancer, but we also need some sunshine to generate vitamin D.
Although the number of children getting rickets from low vitamin D levels is still relatively small, in recent years it has increased slightly, suggesting some people may not be spending enough time outside. But skin cancer is also on the increase, for example almost 16,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma every year.
The amount of sun you need to generate enough vitamin D varies depending on your skin. But it has been unclear how long people might need to spend in the sun to generate enough vitamin D while minimising their skin cancer risk.
Thats where research from Professor Lesley Rhodes, at the University of Manchester, comes in.
/10how Skin Colour Can Affect Vitamin D Production In The Body
The colour of our skin is determined by a pigment called melanin. People with darker skin have more melanin as compared to people who have lighter skin.
Melanin acts as a protector that saves your skin from the excess sunlight. It’s like a natural sunscreen barrier that absorbs the UV rays and defends the skin against sunburn and skin cancers.
But this also means that people with dark skin colour need to spend longer hours in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D that people with lighter skin can produce in less time.
This also makes people with dark skin colour more prone to be deficient in Vitamin D.
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Concern About Vitamin D Intoxication
Vitamin D intoxication is one of the rarest medical conditions and is often caused by inadvertent or intentional ingestion of extremely high doses of vitamin D for prolonged periods of time. Vitamin D intoxication is associated with hypercalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, suppression of PTH that can lead to nephrocalcinosis and soft tissue calcification especially of blood vessels. Usually vitamin D intoxication is not observed until a 25D > 200 ng/mL.254–256
Sunlight And Vitamin D: Cardiovascular Health
In 1997 Rostand et al.159 reported that there was an inverse association with latitude and blood pressure and the prevalence of hypertension . This was followed by the observation of Krause et al.160 who reported that exposure to UVB radiation in a clinical setting not only improved circulating concentrations of 25D by more than 160% but also significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension. A control group was exposed to the same UV lamps that were covered by an acrylic shield absorbing all UVB radiation and thus was exposed to UVA radiation only. The control groups subjects demonstrated no significant change in their circulating concentrations of 25D as well as no change in their hypertension . These data suggested that vitamin D may somehow be involved in cardiovascular health. One of the first insights as to how vitamin D could influence cardiovascular health was the observation that 1,252D3 suppressed the production of renin.161 This observation was also supported by the report that VDR knockout mice have a dysregulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis.162
Figure 70. Effect of UV irradiation on ambulatory daytime and night-time blood pressures was non-significant. Thick line represents the mean. Reproduced with permission from.160
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