Are you feeling tired, weak, suffering from back, neck or joint pain? You just may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is needed constantly in our bodies for healthy bones, joints, teeth and to maintain overall health and well being. Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin which encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. Lack of Vitamin D has been linked to: Cancer, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Autism.
Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. It 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 absorb calcium from your diet. In the past, vitamin D deficiency was typically associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. However, more and more, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of other serious health problems.
1: It is vital for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous which are essential to maintain healthy and strong bones.
2: It is an immune system regulator, and may be an important way to arm the immune system against a variety of disorders including the common cold.
3: Vitamin D can reduce the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms, and also the likelihood of hospitalizations due to asthma.
4: Various studies have shown that people with adequate levels of vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of developing certain types of cancers, compared to people with lower levels.
If you live in the tropics and can expose your unprotected skin to two sessions of 15 minutes of sunlight each week your body will naturally produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. If your body cannot produce enough vitamin D because of insufficient sunlight exposure you may need to obtain it from foods and perhaps supplements. Vitamin D is found specifically in salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, as well as in cod liver oil and other fish liver oils. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks also contain small amounts. Most of the milk supply in the United States has vitamin D added to it, as do some breakfast cereals, orange juices, and milk substitutes (such as soy milk).
The information within is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your health care provider before embarking on any dietary or health supplements changes.
Image credit:Vitamin D by Health Gauge. Used under a creative commons license.
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