Many people know that vitamin D is necessary for maintaining proper bone structure. However, most of us don’t know that many of our body’s cells have a vitamin D receptor and can self-produce vitamin D3, which is vital in regulating immune function and cardiovascular health.
Additionally, there are several different forms of vitamin D. Depending on the form, vitamin D can treat many ailments, ranging from certain inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases to diabetes. In some cases, vitamin D may prevent certain cancers, including colorectal and bladder.
When we don’t have enough vitamin D, it can impact our bones, insulin production, and our body’s response to illness.
How Do We Get Vitamin D?
About 80 to 90% of our vitamin D is made in our bodies when exposed to sunlight. Six days of sunlight exposure can store up to 49 days of vitamin D in our fat cells, which makes up for the times when we don’t have that exposure.
We can also get small amounts from certain foods like tuna, sardines, herring, and mackerel. Vitamin D can also be created in laboratories and added to foods—these are known as fortified foods.
How Do People Become Vitamin D Deficient?
With all these available sources of vitamin D, it may seem hard to believe that deficiency is common. However, according to the National Center for Biotechnical Information, about 35% of adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient.
In many cases, people just aren’t getting enough sun. They may live in climates with fewer sunny periods than other regions. The same can be said of warmer climate zones where it is so hot that people may avoid the sun to keep cool or consistently slather on sunscreen to reduce any risk of skin cancer. Children can also become deficient if they spend too much time on the computer or play video games instead of going outside.
Who Is Most At Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency?
- Elderly (65+): Vitamin D deficiency is very common in older adults because they have fewer vitamin D receptors.
- Individuals With Chronic Digestive Disorders: These individuals are at a higher risk for vitamin D deficiency because it’s more difficult for their bodies to absorb this nutrient, even if their exposure or intake is adequate.
- Individuals With Darker Skin Tones: Those with darker skin tones require even longer periods of sunlight exposure to create enough vitamin D.
How Do I Know That I Have a Deficiency?
The most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include feeling a tingly sensation in your hands or feet and experiencing muscle weakness and/or pain or bone pain.
What Can I Do to Treat My Deficiency?
If you belong to an at-risk group or have experienced any of the symptoms listed above, you may need to take a vitamin D supplement. You should also have your blood levels checked annually to determine the amount of supplementation needed to keep your vitamin D sources at adequate levels. Always consult with a medical professional before you purchase supplements. Any vitamin deficiency needs to be treated, but you also want to ensure you’re not overdoing it.
Get Tested Today
If you need help determining your vitamin D levels, let our medical team at Total Health Systems help you.
We perform blood tests to identify nutrient deficiencies and diagnose and treat many health conditions. We also carry high-quality, non-synthetic nutritional supplements to treat deficiencies.
If you haven’t had your levels checked recently or have had tests done and need guidance on how much vitamin D you need, contact us today to schedule an evaluation with one of our qualified medical specialists. Remember—your body needs vitamin D, but too much can be harmful. We’re here to ensure you’re taking just the right amount.