It's called the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is a vitamin you can get from exposure to sunlight, food or supplements.
Nowadays, it’s not very hard to see people struggling with vitamin D deficiency. And this could well be one of the top deficiencies we have today. An estimated 1 billion people suffer from vitamin D deficiency, according to Harvard University.
It's deficiency in your body can cause short-term symptoms and long-term complications.
For a lot of us, there are several reasons why we may be having it.
Let’s try and understand the signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency before we get to what’s causing it and what are the possible remedies to address it.
Signs & Symptoms
If you are someone who falls sick quite often, struggling with emotional ups and downs, have depression and anxiety, then you could possibly be part of the group with vitamin D deficiency.
Hormone imbalance, if you have difficulty putting on muscles or losing weight, it can be correlated with vitamin D deficiency.
If you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, this can also be a warning signs for vitamin D deficiency.
So, what's the damage?
Your risks include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, sadness, extreme crankiness, muscle weakness, greater pain sensitivity, sleepiness, decreased endurance, stress fractures, the list goes on…
Getting a blood test for this is the only accurate way to know if you’re deficient or not. The blood test that measures vitamin D is called a 25(OH)D blood test.
If your vitamin D level is:
Between 50 ng/ml and 100 ng/ml, then you’re getting the right amount of vitamin D.
A result between 30 ng/ml and 50 mg/ml indicates that you are still not quite sufficient in vitamin D; you may start using supplements.
But if you are below 30 ng/ml, that means you’re deficient in vitamin D. You need to speak to your doctor and figure out what's best for you.
However, if your results shows a value higher than 100 ng/ml, they are thought to be too high.
Now, let’s take a look at the causes.
The sun should be your number one source of vitamin D, and obviously that comes of top of the list.
We live in world where most of us stay indoors for whatever reason. If you are not getting outside enough, you end up not getting enough sunlight for your skin, and you become a victim of vitamin D deficiency.
There are certain chemicals in plastics that can block the absorption of vitamin D. So, if you are drinking from a plastic bottle that has BPA (bisphenol A), it can create vitamin D deficiency and it can really affect the way vitamin D is absorbed by your liver in your body.
Another contributing factor to this condition is the toxic environment that we are in.
If you are exposed to toxins on a regular basis, it affects your liver. Your liver is responsible for producing vitamin D within your body.
If you want to see improvements in immune function, in your metabolism, in your hormones - thyroids & adrenal glands, and improving your overall mood and bone strength, you got to get your share of vitamin D.
And as mentioned above your number one source by far is sunlight. Try to be in the sun for about 20-30 min every single day; even if it’s cold outside, getting the sunlight on your face and hands is very important.
However, people with darker skin may need to spend more in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as someone with lighter skin.
Fish, raw fermented milk, mushrooms, eggs, butter, cheese - all these may have small amounts of vitamin D and you are only going to get very small amounts in diet.
Taking a very high quality vitamin D supplement can also help. You may want to take vitamin D3 and that comes in many forms; capsule form is recommended.
For adults, 2000 to 5000 IUs a day is what’s recommended if you got your test done and found out that you have vitamin D deficiency.
There are two forms of vitamin D; D2 & D3. Studies suggest, vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is more than 3 times as effective as vitamin D2. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight.
But most products that claims to be good source of vitamin D contain the inferior version of vitamin D2.
There you go, spare some time to enjoy the sunshine and get enough vitamin D, it’s crucial for your immune function, bone health, emotional health, and balanced hormones.
It’s not only a vitamin, it’s a hormone, it’s an immune boosting nutrient, and you need this vitamin to absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet which is vital for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.