One of the Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies in the U.S., Vitamin D Deficiency Can Reduce Your Immune Function, Cause Muscle Pain, Heart Disease, Cancer, & More
For those with gluten issues, vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate and contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases. Unlike other vitamins, the majority of Vitamin D is not acquired from eating adequate food. Most of our vitamin D comes directly from sunshine. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the US is largely a result of the following:
- people working indoors
- avoiding sunshine out of fear of skin cancer
- living in northern climates (see map)
- overuse of sunscreen
Those at risk for vitamin D deficiency include:
- The elderly
- Those who live in northern latitudes (see map)
- Dark skinned individuals
- Those who avoid sun exposure
- Those who use sunscreen (SPF >8 inhibits vitamin D synthesis by the skin. This includes the use of cosmetics and lotions that contain SPF ingredients)
- Those who work indoors
- Individuals who wear long clothing such as robes or head protection
- Breast fed infants whose mothers are vitamin D deficient
- People who are obese
- Those who have had gastric bypass and gall bladder surgery
- Those with inflammatory bowel diseases
- Those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance
- Those who take cholesterol medications
- Those who take steroid medications
- Chronic antibiotic use
What are the Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency?
- Muscle pain
- Muscle weakness
- Poor immune function (susceptibility to infection)
- Eczema (skin rash)
- Chronic infections (sinus)
- Poor growth in children
- Bowing of the legs (in children – AKA rickets)
Additionally, vitamin D helps regulate a number of vital body functions. Deficiency has been linked to bone loss, muscle atrophy, autoimmune disease, multiple forms of cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The diagram below illustrates many of these functions.
Are you at risk?
New research on vitamin D shows that the average person needs between 2,000 and 6,000 IU of vitamin D per day! Many nutritionist recommend large amounts of dairy as a source of vitamin D. Unfortunately, trying to get your vitamin D by eating dairy is the equivalent of trying to spit out a forest fire! Protect yourself by getting adequate sunshine daily. Have your doctor measure your 25 OH D levels (vitamin D blood test) to assess you for deficiency.You can acquire pharmaceutical grade vitamin D here.