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Vitamin D And Cancer Risk
It’s no secret that people living in industrialized countries eat diets and lead lifestyles that increase the risk of obesity and deficiency in critical nutrients. One important nutrient that doesn’t get talked about enough is vitamin D. It’s one of the vital substances our bodies need to maintain health, yet a staggering number of the world’s population is deficient. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly vitamin D is, why it’s so important, and how vitamin D levels can influence the risk of cancer. We’ll also discuss practical steps you can take to get your vitamin D levels back up to where they should be.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D’s name is somewhat misleading; it’s not actually a vitamin, but a hormone. Unlike many true vitamins, such as vitamin C, it can be synthesized by your body naturally, a process known as endogenous production.
Exposure to sunlight triggers the body to produce vitamin D. Because so many people today spend so much time indoors (especially people living in developed countries in temperate latitudes), they don’t get enough sunlight each day, and their bodies become deficient in vitamin D. While it’s possible to get vitamin D through dietary sources like dairy products and certain kinds of fish, most people don’t eat healthy diets, either.
The result is a global epidemic of chronic vitamin D deficiency. Symptoms of this include rickets (weak bones), a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D deficiency also has psychological and emotional effects. Many people living in polar or temperate regions are affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder), a type of depression triggered by vitamin D deficiency. This typically occurs during the colder months of the year when there are fewer hours of sunlight. Treatment often includes use of an indoor UV lamp, which simulates natural sunlight and triggers vitamin D synthesis in the body.
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