Vitamin D is essential for good health. It facilitates calcium and phosphorus absorption, promotes strong bones and helps strengthen the immune system. Vitamin D is produced by the skin when it is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Unfortunately, there are many people in the US and Northern Europe who are vitamin D deficient.
This is due to today’s high-paced life which revolves around gadgets, computers and other types of technology that limit our interaction with mother nature. Our lifestyle choices reduce the time we spend outdoors and restrict our exposure to the sun’s UVB rays. In addition, widespread pollution prevents the healthy UVB rays from reaching the ground and diminishes our body’s potential production of the sunshine vitamin whenever we decide to go outside to bask in the warmth of the sun. This is a big concern because a deficiency in vitamin D poses several health problems.
Vitamin D facilitates bone growth and is an important factor in keeping our bones strong and healthy. A lack of this vitamin will prevent our bones from absorbing calcium and phosphorus and will weaken them considerably, which may result in bone pain, or osteoporosis. This deficiency also makes our bodies vulnerable to fragility fractures (1). To help prevent bone injury, sufficient measures must be taken to ensure we get enough of vitamin D.
Higher Risk of Respiratory Infection
Multiple studies confirm a deficiency in vitamin D increases the risk of getting respiratory infections, in both adults and children (2). Most kids with low vitamin D levels have a higher risk of developing asthma (3).
Higher Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
One research team found people who were deficient in vitamin D were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (4). The study reported that vitamin D helps protect lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell that is created by the body’s immune system to fight against cancerous cells and pathogens – which help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Higher Risk of Cancer
Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of cancer. A study conducted in December of 2017 noted a significant association between vitamin D deficiency and differentiated thyroid cancer diagnosis (5). This probability urged some to study and document the potential of vitamin D to improve the outcome for cancer patients (6).
There are different ways to ensure we are getting enough vitamin D. Increasing the time you spend outdoors will greatly improve your vitamin D levels. Taking walks while the sun is up is a good start and can help your skin absorb the healthy UVB rays while giving your body some exercise. It is also important to take vitamin D supplements. Lifestyle matters. Keeping your body fit and strong and maintaining good health all boil down to how we decide to spend our days. Human beings are not meant to stay cooped up inside for long hours. Stand up and enjoy the outdoors! Take good care of yourself, and your body will thank you for it.References
- “Vitamin D and Calcium Supplementation in Elderly Patients Suffering Fragility Fractures; The Road not Taken”, Saini AK, et al., October 2017.
- “Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in patients with Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis: association with respiratory infection”, Perez, MO, December 2017.
- “Complex relationships between vitamin D and allergic sensitization among Puerto Rican 2-year-old children”, Kannan S, et al., January 2018.
- “Vitamin D Increases Aβ140 Plasma Levels and Protects Lymphocytes from Oxidative Death in Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients”, San Martin, CD, et al., December 2017.
- “Vitamin D Deficiency Associated with Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma: A Case- Control Study”, Heidari Z, et al., December 2017.
- “Serum Vitamin D Levels Affect Pathologic Complete Response in Patients Undergoing Neoadjuvant Systemic Therapy for Operable Breast Cancer”, Chiba A., December 2017.