12 Common Diseases Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is actually more common than you may think. Keep reading for common causes for lack of vitamin D and diseases and conditions that can result from vitamin D deficiency.
You maybe asking yourself where do I get Vitamin D and what does it do!! The good news is that our bodies can produce on its own when we expose our skin to sunlight, we can also get it from supplements and a very small amount comes from a few foods we eat, such as some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks and in fortified dairy, cereals and grain products. Vitamin D is very important for good overall health. It helps to make sure our muscles, heart, lungs and brain function well. There is no set amount of time that you should be sat in the sun to make enough vitamin D as each and every person is different. It is said that if you are fair skinned you should have approximately 10-15 minutes where you are exposed without sunscreen. During the summer months this should be enough for most people to make enough vitamin D. You can speed it up, by exposing a large area of skin, the more chance there is of making enough vitamin D before you start to burn.
Common causes for lack of vitamin D
Limited exposure to sunlight – this can depend on where you live, if you have to wear long clothes everyday. You have a job where you mainly indoors.
Dark skin – People with dark skin have higher levels of melanin. It is this pigment that reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
Kidney and liver function – The body uses these organs to convert vitamin D to its active form. Any sort of kidney or liver disease will dramatically reduce production of vitamin D.
Strict vegetarian diet – It is mainly animal based foods that contain vitamin D. These are fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk and beef liver.
Digestive problems – Some medical conditions can reduce the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from food. Diseases such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease.
Obesity – Obesity may cause low vitamin D levels. Researchers have found that vitamin D may become ‘trapped’ inside fat tissue so less of it is available in our blood circulation.
Vitamin D Deficiency Related Diseases & Conditions
Research is ongoing to see how vitamin D works within our body and how it affects our overall health. Though that said, there are a number of links between vitamin D deficiency and the following list of health problems:
1. Osteoporosis – We need an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D to maintaining bone density and strength. Without it, it will cause bones to become weak and brittle and increases the risk of fractures.
2. Asthma – It has been found that vitamin D deficiency is linked to lower lung functions and asthma control, especially in children. It has been reported that vitamin D may improve asthma control by blocking inflammation-causing proteins in the lung, as well as increasing production of another protein which has anti-inflammatory effects.
3. Heart health – Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
4. Inflammation – Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with inflammation. Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and type 1 diabetes.
5. Cholesterol – It has been shown that without adequate sun exposure vitamin D precursors will turn into cholesterol instead of vitamin D.
6. Allergies – Studies have shown that children with lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to have multiple food allergies.
7. Influenza – Some studies shown that people with the lowest vitamin D levels are found to have significantly more cases of cold and flu than those with higher levels.
8. Depression – Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression. The receptors for vitamin D are present in many areas of the brain and are involved in numerous brain processes, making it possible that lack of vitamin D could trigger depression.
9. Type-2 Diabetes – Studies have linked that low vitamin D levels could assist the development of type 2 diabetes. There are a few studies that provide evidence that vitamin D may contribute to glucose tolerance through its effects on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.
10. Oral health – It has been found that elderly patients with low vitamin D levels have a higher rate of tooth loss than those with high vitamin D levels.
11. Rheumatoid arthritis – Studies have found that women who get more vitamin D seem less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis. Also among people who already have rheumatoid arthritis, those with low vitamin D levels tend to have more active symptoms.
12. Cancer – a study has indicated that more than 75% of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D, and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancers. Of course further research is required to link if higher vitamin D levels are related to lower cancer incidence or death rates.
Are you are worried that you may be lacking in vitamin D! All you need is a simple blood test to determine you vitamin D levels. Your doctor will then advise you if a supplement is necessary.
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