Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Importance of Vitamin D

Why is vitamin D so important to the health and wellbeing of your family, and what should you know about this essential vitamin?

Why is vitamin D important?

The vitamin helps with the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc in the body. A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of diseases.  Long associated with strong bones, a vitamin D deficiency in children can be responsible for a condition called rickets. While rickets is not as common today, there are other conditions that may be caused by a vitamin D deficiency.

Are there different types of vitamin D?

Yes, there are.

According to this site, D2 and D3 are the most important types of the vitamin for humans.

D2 (ergocalciferol):  the type of vitamin D found in food.
D3 (cholecalciferol):  the type of vitamin D that comes from sunlight.

How much vitamin D do you need?

Children – 400-600 IU
Those under 70 years of age - 600 IU
Individuals 71 years of age and older – 800 IU

What are sources of vitamin D?

1. Sunlight:  Called the “sunshine” vitamin, your body naturally produces vitamin D in response to being exposed to sunlight.
2. Fish: Salmon, swordfish, and mackerel provide a healthy amount of vitamin D in a single serving. Tuna and sardines contain lower amounts of vitamin D.
3. Eggs: Specifically the yolks contain small amount of vitamin D.
4. Beef liver, fortified cereals, and milk: All typically contain small amounts of vitamin D.
5. Orange juice, bread, and some yogurts: Usually contain added vitamin D.
6. Supplements: Multivitamins typically contain 400 IU of vitamin D.

Signs of vitamin D deficiency:

There are often no signs of vitamin D deficiency. The deficiency can cause soft bones, a condition called osteomalacia. Symptoms of osteomalacia include bone pain and muscle weakness.

How can you tell if you have a vitamin D deficiency?

A simple blood test can determine the levels of vitamin D in your body. Based on any deficiency, your doctor or healthcare provider will advise you to either modify your diet or take a supplement.

Who should be especially concerned about vitamin D deficiency?

Vegans (individuals who don’t eat meat, fish, or any food product that’s the byproduct of any animal).
Those who have a milk allergy or are lactose intolerance.
Individuals with dark skin.
People living in a northern state.
Individuals who are overweight, obese, or who have had gastric bypass surgery.
Those who suffer from liver or digestive diseases, such as celiac or Crohn’s disease.

Can too much vitamin D be harmful?

Yes, that’s why it’s important to always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before adding supplements to your diet.

What’s the latest news regarding vitamin D?

According to this report, boosting vitamin D levels might be helpful in managing asthma attacks. In addition, a vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a risk of death from cardiovascular disease as well as cognitive deficiencies in older adults. Studies support that appropriate levels of the vitamin may help lower the risk of colon cancer. Other conditions with a possible link to vitamin D deficiency include depression, difficulty with weight management, and diabetes.

Interested in learning more? Check out these sites for more information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2912737/ or www.mayoclinic.org.

Live Healthy. Live Smart
-FamilyWize

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