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Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency
Highlights

A new study suggests that a large number of the world’s population suffers from Vitamin D deficiency because we’ve stopped spending time outdoors....

A new study suggests that a large number of the world’s population suffers from Vitamin D deficiency because we’ve stopped spending time outdoors. Excessive use of sunscreens is only aggravating this condition. The study also found that 95% of African American adults may have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Vitamin D variations among races are attributed to differences in skin pigmentation.

Sunscreen is seen nullifying the body’s ability to produce vitamin D. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks and in fortified dairy and grain products.

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn't properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems. Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency.

However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet, even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following: Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease; Cognitive impairment in older adults; Severe asthma in children; and Cancer.

Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis. The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test.

A level of 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency. If you don't spend much time in the sun or always are careful to cover your skin (sunscreen inhibits vitamin D production), you should speak to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly if you have risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, according to WebMD.com.

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