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You Could Be Deficient In This One Important Vitamin And Not Even Know It!
Some vitamins are just attention hounds. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and even the B vitamins seem to get all of the attention. However, vitamin D is just as important and this is a well-known fact. Doctors first recognized the important link between a vitamin D deficiency, and a disease called Rickets as far back as at least the 1930’s. The Rickets causes a softening of the teeth and bones. Even if you have plenty of calcium, without vitamin D to control the blood levels of phosphorus and calcium, the bones become demineralized. This causes bone pain, bowed legs, widening of the wrist bones, dental problems, bone fractures and deformities of the skull.
Rickets is rarely seen in developed countries and most people believe that rickets went out with The Great Depression, but new research tells us other important facts about vitamin D. One of the things that modern studies have shown us is that there are other, more subtle, symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency that the eyes cannot see. In fact, some diseases and illnesses at first glance, do not seem as if they could possibly be related to a lack of vitamin D but science now knows otherwise.
What exactly is vitamin D? This vitamin works very much like a hormone in the body. It has several different forms including vitamin D2, which is the kind we get from food. Then there is vitamin D3, which is what our bodies make from sunlight. Vitamin D serves several purposes in the body, but it’s main job is to regulate the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood.
One of the reasons vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin” is because it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food, but very easy to get it via sunlight. Vitamin D can be found in tuna, salmon, mackerel, and a few types of mushrooms, but that’s about it.
Our skin makes the majority of the vitamin D we need from sunlight, but sometimes even that is not enough. For those who live in climates that get very little sunlight, cloud cover, pollution levels, the use of sunscreens and job factors (such as those who work nights) can greatly diminish the amount of vitamin D our bodies make.
If the deficiency is small enough, people might not show any immediate symptoms. Those who do show symptoms might not relate it to a vitamin D deficiency. Symptoms include restless sleep, general feelings of fatigue, bladder problems, muscle cramps, joint pain, muscle weakness, difficulty concentration, headaches, and constipation or diarrhea.
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However, others experience some fairly serious medical conditions related to a lack of vitamin D including:
- High Blood Pressure – This common problem has been linked to deficiencies in magnesium, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.
- Asthma – Studies have shown that supplementing with 1,200 IU each day of vitamin D reduces asthma attacks, as well as their severity.
- Heart Disease – One report, published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, found that heart disease is far more common in those who are deficient in vitamin D. This study also found that children who suffered from severe heart failure responded very well to vitamin D supplementation.
- Depression – Several studies have linked a vitamin D deficiency to depression and other mental illnesses. Other studies have found that pregnant women who received plenty of vitamin D, reduced the chances her unborn child would develop mental problems or depression later in their lives.
- Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums which causes intense pain, bleeding, and, eventually, tooth loss. Studies have proven that vitamin D helps with the formation of cathelicidins and defensins, which lower the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth, and can delay or inhibit this disease.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – This devastating disease causes systemic inflammation, joint damage, and severe pain. Studies show that while vitamin D cannot reverse this disease, it can help to ease the pain and stiffness that comes with RA.
- Diabetes – The World’s Healthiest Foods states that poor control of blood sugar levels is a symptom of a vitamin D deficiency. This can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
- Multiple Sclerosis – Numerous studies have proven that geography really does matter when it comes to the odds of developing MS. The farther away from the equator a person lives, and the less sunlight a person receives, the greater the chances that a person will develop MS.
- Cancer – Although it doesn’t seem possible that cancer could be a symptom of a vitamin D deficiency, numerous studies show this to be true. Several cancers are linked to a deficiency in this vitamin including prostate cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer. This link is so strong that even the Mayo Clinic lists dosing levels for both cancer prevention and prostate cancer treatment.
Make no doubt about it, vitamin D deficiency is a serious disease causing concern. Your doctor can check your blood levels of vitamin D, so if you have any doubt that you might be low, a simple blood test can confirm this for you.