Vitamin D is essential for maintaining your health, however many people don’t realize how important it is. Almost all of us at one point or another have experienced low vitamin D levels, whether we have realized it or not. Symptoms often manifest as poor energy, insomnia, compromised immune system, and mood imbalance. That’s why you need to know these facts about Vitamin D, so let’s dive right in!
Vitamin D: What You Need to Know
You probably already know that the best source of vitamin D is the sun, which is rarely accessible everyday to everyone. Without appropriate sunlight exposure, our vitamin D status decreases and our health gets worse. Here are a few things you should know about vitamin D:
Some people may not get enough vitamin D from the foods in their diet. For example, people who avoid dairy products, may not get enough vitamin D from their diets. Others may be at risk of deficiency because they have limited sun exposure. For example, people who mostly stay or work indoors or live in the more northerly regions of Canada, may not get enough sunlight to produce vitamin D. Choosing vitamin D-rich foods will help you get more vitamin D.
Some experts say Vitamin D not only helps in bone health but can also aid in heart, brain, and immune system function, even nothing that lower levels can be associated with asthma. Some suggest it could even protect against certain forms of cancer. It’s fairly well established, though, that maintaining proper levels can stave off infections and prevent bone brittleness.
Vitamin D supplement will not cure or prevent breast cancer but a recent study suggests that spending some time in the sun each day can reduce the risk of breast cancer. This exposure stimulates Vitamin D production in your skin, and that alone could cut the risk of breast cancer in half. Opt for around 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure per day without sunscreen.
In Scotland, where sun exposure is typically low, there’s a push to supplement the nation’s food with Vitamin D. One source of Vitamin D is from the sun. Because of this, much of the population is deficient, and some experts blame that deficiency for a high rate of multiple sclerosis—one of the highest in the world. Studies suggest there could be a link between the two, and that Vitamin D could offer some neuroprotective effects.
A recent report suggests that pregnant women with low Vitamin D levels are two times as likely to have children with language difficulties. It’s important to remember that a developing baby relies entirely on the mother for vitamin D. This makes it doubly important for expectant mothers to get enough of the vitamin!
With sunlight as a main source for Vitamin D production, increased sunscreen use, declining vitamin levels, and rising autism rates have had many wondering if there could be a connection. While one study noted that autistic children do, in fact, have lower vitamin D levels than non-autistic children, more studies must be done before drawing a conclusion of any kind. Regardless, it certainly seems to show how important Vitamin D can be to brain health.
In a worrisome discovery, low vitamin D levels have been linked to premature death. Research has found that individuals with low blood levels of vitamin D had a doubled risk of premature death compared to those with a higher level. If you’re curious, your doctor can do a simple blood test so you can know your current levels of Vitamin D.
As already mentioned vitamin D has a suspected role in brain health. A recent study even suggests that low levels of Vitamin D can boost the person’s risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. As we age, our skin becomes less able to convert vitamin D from sunlight, so while it’s too early to draw conclusions, these findings could lead to updated guidelines for vitamin D levels in those over age 65.
More evidence is stacking up for Vitamin D’s influence on health: one study even suggests that it could protect us from high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke. But fear of skin cancer is keeping people out of the sun, and that is leading to low levels of D. Consider getting your sun exposure in the morning or evening when the sun’s rays aren’t that strong.