Several generations ago, it was common for parents to leave their naked infants in the sun every day for good health. Our modern minds are prone to exclaiming, "That's insane! Did they apply sunscreen first?” Although it may not be how we would do it today, these parents did help their children get enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic in the United States, affecting as many as 90 percent of some adult populations. This is a serious public health issue that must be addressed.
What Is the Function of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, differs from other vitamins. Our body can produce the majority of what we require rather than relying on food. But It is not the same fo for vitamin D.
Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced by our bodies when sunlight is converted into chemicals that can be used by the body. When UVB rays strike our skin, a substance in our skin converts to D3, which then travels through our bloodstream to our kidneys and liver.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble and is found in the body's fatty tissues as well as the liver. It is an important nutrient for overall health, and studies show that a lack of it can lead to brittle bones, breast cancer, colon cancer, autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
What Is the Best Way to Get Vitamin D?
Our body makes vitamin D primarily through exposure to sunlight, and with adequate exposure, we can produce adequate amounts. With the rise in skin cancer over the last few decades, however, many people now wear sunscreen, limiting the opportunity for the skin to do its incredible sunlight conversion.
It is difficult to strike a balance between the need to get enough vitamin D and the need to protect our skin from damage. And, because it varies from person to person, there is no precise amount of sunlight that doctors can point to as the ideal amount for vitamin D production. Experts recommend 10-20 minutes of sun exposure per day in general, but this varies greatly depending on the individual and their location.
People with dark skin produce less of the nutrient than those with light skin. Young people outnumber older people in terms of output. And those living north of Atlanta in the United States will find it nearly impossible to get enough UVB exposure during the winter, no matter how willing they are to forego sunscreen.
5 Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
Blood tests ordered by your doctor are the only way to diagnose low vitamin D levels, but here are some warning signs to look out for and discuss with your doctor:
1. Infections and illnesses are common.
Vitamin D receptors are found throughout our body, including on immune cells. One of vitamin D's primary functions is to assist our bodies in fighting infections. If you are prone to colds, flu, and respiratory infections, you may be deficient in this essential nutrient.
2. Pain in the muscles and bones.
Vitamin D is well known for its role in osteoporosis prevention because it aids calcium absorption. However, it also appears to have anti-inflammatory properties. If you suffer from chronic bone, back, or muscle pain, you may need to increase your D levels.
3. Fatigue on a regular basis.
Adults can easily dismiss their constant tiredness as a result of getting older and busier. Even when patients look for the source of their chronic fatigue, vitamin D deficiency is frequently overlooked. However, studies show that extremely low levels of this nutrient cause chronic fatigue and tiredness.
4. Hair thinning.
This is a symptom that many people immediately associate with stress. While stress can be a cause of hair loss, vitamin D deficiency should also be considered. Low levels have been linked to the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata, which causes severe hair loss all over the body.
There are vitamin D receptors in the part of the brain that influences the development of depression, so a lack of the nutrient may result in the disorder. Low levels of D have been linked to depression in studies conducted in Norway and Sweden.
5 Vitamin D Rich Foods
Because most of us are unable or unwilling to spend enough unprotected time in the sun to produce vitamin D, we must rely on food sources. Here are five foods that will help you increase your levels:
Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it must be combined with fat to be utilised. Vitamin D is abundant in fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, and sardines. These fish are also high in protein and healthy fats.
Lamb and Beef Liver
Although many people do not consider organ meat to be a favourite food, it is extremely nutrient-dense and a great source of vitamin D. Beef liver, in addition to being high in D, is also high in iron, making it a nutritional powerhouse.
Eggs are well-known for being high in protein, but their yolks also contain a significant amount of vitamin D. Unfortunately, due to cholesterol concerns, egg yolks have spent a lot of undeserved time on the Western world's naughty list of foods. Fortunately, that era has passed, and we now recognise the incredible health and nutritional benefits of eggs.
Vitamin D is added to many foods, including cereals, oatmeal, milk, and orange juice. Although these items are not as effective as other food sources at delivering nutrients, they are useful in addressing deficiencies in the population, particularly among children.
Shrimp and oysters are both low-calorie vitamin D sources, making them ideal for a healthy diet. Oysters have the added benefit of being high in B12.