What’s The News on Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of those things that comes up now and again during health screening services. More often than not, your provider is letting you know that there is not enough in your body. But have you ever stopped to think about what vitamin D is, why it is so important and how it can help you? Here is a quick look at what you need to know about this vital part of our nutrition.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D plays a major role in helping our bodies function. This fat-soluble vitamin lets our bodies absorb calcium, promotes healthy bone growth, and plays a role in our neuromuscular and immune systems. Unlike other nutrients, most vitamin D does not come from our food. In fact, our body makes it when we are in the sun. This poses a problem for our modern world, as most of us spend our entire day indoors. Because of this, many people are already deficient or at risk for deficiency.
Why We Need It
We are just beginning to understand how vitamin D helps our bodies, beyond bone protection. According to Nutrition Action, recent studies show that getting adequate levels improves insulin sensitivity and decreases artery stiffness, two important factors in conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There is also promising data that suggests vitamin D might be an effective treatment for autism, autoimmune disease, and high blood pressure, but more research is necessary to verify.
What Happens If We Do Not Get Enough?
Not having enough vitamin D in your body greatly impacts your health. Bone pain and muscle weakness are two common complications, but cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, and cancer are concerns too.
More often than not, the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are subtle. However, they can take a toll on your overall quality of life. Fatigue, headaches, chronic pain, and depression, while not usually life-threatening, are all possible signs you are not getting enough of the vitamin.
Are You At Risk?
Some individuals are at an increased risk for deficiency including those who follow a vegan diet, those who spend little time in the sun, and those who are obese. Individuals with dark skin are also at higher risk because their melanin-rich skin may prevent adequate absorption from the sun. Aging and chronic disease are also factors, but those with Crohn’s disease, celiac, or other intestinal diagnoses that affect nutrient absorption, should be especially aware of their levels.
How To Find Out
Vitamin D deficiency testing is the quickest and most accurate way to see if you’re in the healthy range. Your primary care physician can order traditional blood work, or you can take advantage of Hanson Medical Systems, Inc. Diagnostic Vitamin D Test.
If your vitamin D testing reveals your levels are 20 nanograms per milliliter or less, you will likely require treatment. Treatment typically consists of dietary changes that increase your fish, egg, and fortified dairy and grain consumption, as well as more time spent outdoors and, possibly, vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D plays a key role in our health. Not only does it help our bodies function the way they are supposed to, it prevents dangerous diseases and appears to treat a myriad of health concerns. Having low levels of vitamin D is common, so it is important to take advantage of a vitamin D deficiency test. With easy treatment options, there is no reason not to stay in the loop about this important part of your health.