Is Vitamin D Deficiency A Big Factor in Our Health Problems?
Small things going missing can lead to problems that are far bigger than anticipated. The old poem goes, “For want of a nail, a shoe was lost,” and continues on to depict the loss of an entire kingdom all because a horse went unshod. Health problems such as bone loss and chronic muscle pain are considerably similar in terms of little things going unnoticed or lost, and then eventually leading to a considerable downfall. Many a person has shrugged off one mineral insufficiency or another only to later on discover that this actually-essential element could have prevented the onset of a particular ailment, or at the very least could have kept our well-being more completely intact for longer.
Similarly, while we might come to think of vitamins as just easily-dismissed matters that have entertainingly alphabet-based names, their importance is nevertheless truly undeniable. Vitamins play a crucial role in maintaining the effective running of the body’s systems, often in subtle ways that only become truly evident when they are missed. Vitamin C is perhaps the most obvious one, as supplements are constantly marketed to us in an effort to keep us in good supply of this crucial immune-system-boosting vitamin. Others, however, like Vitamin D, deserve some attention as well.
Vitamin D Playing A Crucial Role in Our Overall Health
Vitamin D is intriguing in that it stands apart from the other vitamins in an unusual way – it acts more like a hormone, and is so important that every cell in the human body actually has a receptor for it. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, the body creates vitamin D from cholesterol, but it can also be found in various types of food like fortified dairy products and fatty or oily fish. Neither of these two means tends to be enough to supply the body with a lot of vitamin D, however, and as such supplementation tends to be a good idea because scientists actually suggest that we should take in more than the recommended daily intake.
Vitamin D helps regulate our body’s absorption of phosphorous and calcium, and similar to vitamin C actually helps the body’s immune system along with aiding chronic muscle pain. Bones and teeth develop normally when the body has adequate amounts of vitamin D, and the body becomes reasonably resistant against certain diseases as well. As one might surmise, having good amounts of vitamin D helps reduce the likelihood of multiple sclerosis, and lowers the likelihood of heart disease and even the flu. It can even help regulate one’s mood and thus reduce the risk of depression. Finally, at least one study suggests that vitamin D supplementation when dieting helps weight loss – scientists theorize it may have an appetite suppressing effect.
8 Indicators That You Are Vitamin D Deficient
It’s worth noting, however, that not everybody gets as much as they should of this nutrient that they need. Even given that it can be created by the body when exposed to sunlight, or taken in through certain foods, vitamin D is needed in greater amounts than these means can typically provide. Sadly, this results in some people being vitamin D deficient. Here are some indicators to watch out for.
- You tend to get sick, particularly with the flu. Vitamin D tends to be a big factor in helping the immune system stave off illnesses, including the common flu. Normally it interacts directly with the body cells tasked with fighting infection. As such, low amounts of it may be a contributing factor in allowing one to be more susceptible to the flu, pneumonia, and other ailments.
- Slowness of healing, such as from wounds. As noted above, the body’s ability to fight off illness and come back from injury as well tends to lean on vitamin D as one of its core elements. Vitamin D levels are associated with how quickly the body can produce compounds that are integral to the creation of new skin as a key step of healing from wounds. Vitamin D is also supposed to be quite helpful in controlling and fighting inflammation from injury, and a reduction in the body’s ability to do this often reflects a deficiency as well.
- Fatigue. It’s interesting, if somewhat unfortunate, that vitamin D deficiency tends to be overlooked as a reason for feeling tired. Chronic fatigue has been linked in a few studies to a deficiency in vitamin D, and addressed with a dosage of the same.
- Bone and back pain. Given that vitamin D contributes to proper bone development, partly by regulating calcium absorption, a lack of it will over time result in a greater likelihood of chronic lower back pain, among other things.
- Bone loss. Related to the above, bone loss isn’t necessarily solely due to a lack of calcium – the calcium-absorption regulating vitamin should also be in good supply. This may vary from person to person, as studies have shown.
- Depression. As noted, scientists have drawn a line between vitamin D levels and depression, with 65% of the observational studies on this suggesting that there is a relationship between occurrences of depression and low vitamin D levels in the blood. This isn’t quite as conclusive as it should be yet, but it’s an easily-addressed factor that might be overlooked.
- Hair loss. While hair loss tends to be attributed to stress (and not incorrectly), a nutrient deficiency may also be to blame. Low vitamin D levels, for instance, are a risk factor for alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disease that can also cause soft bones in children.
- Chronic muscle pain. While this tends to be difficult to link to a particular deficiency as a cause, some studies have established a tentative link. One possible contributing factor might be that pain-sensing nocireceptors are also vitamin D receptors, and a recognized lack of the vitamin might be leading to pain being felt.
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