Did you know that the vast majority of the population—up to 90% of adults in the US—is believed to have a Vitamin D deficiency? And over 95% of the elderly population is believed to be deficient. As the population of overweight and obese adults and children has risen steadily over the past several decades, so has the incidence of Vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Sadly, a Vitamin D deficiency is correlated with increased risks of developing common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and various infectious diseases.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver and fatty tissues. This means that increased body fat has the ability to absorb Vitamin D and keep it from being used within our body. Vitamin D is somewhat different from other vitamins because our body makes most of our Vitamin D on its own, rather than solely relying on food sources. Our body does this by converting sunshine into chemicals that are used by the body. However, our mostly indoor lifestyle, along with increased use of sunscreen, means most of us are not getting enough exposure to sunshine to make adequate amounts of Vitamin D.
The only way to know for sure if you’re Vitamin D deficient is via blood testing. However, there are some signs and symptoms to be aware of as well. If any of the following apply to you, you should get your Vitamin D levels checked sooner rather than later:
- You have darker skin.
- You feel “blue.”
- You’re age 50 or older.
- You’re overweight, obese, or have a higher muscle mass.
- Your bones ache.
- Your head is often sweaty.
- You have gut trouble.
It is important to be monitored when supplementing with Vitamin D. Taking too much Vitamin D without testing can result in Vitamin D levels becoming too high. Likewise, taking too little may do nothing to raise your Vitamin D levels. Therefore, proper testing and dosage is the only way to maintain optimal Vitamin D levels. The good news is that Vitamin D testing and supplementation are relatively inexpensive. And here are just some of the benefits of Vitamin D:
- Contributes to bone health.
- Helps manage blood sugar levels and can prevent diabetes.
- Protects against cancer.
- Helps fight heart disease.
- Enhances our immune system.
- Facilitates in hormone regulation and helps improve our mood.
- Helps with concentration, learning, and memory.
If you would like more information on Vitamin D testing and supplementation, please contact us at (314) 293-8123 or visit us at the inhstl.com. Dr. TJ Williams is the Clinic Director for the Institute of Natural Health and the host of the radio program Wellness 101, which provides common-sense, science-based strategies for a healthy life. Wellness 101 airs Sundays at 3:00pm on FM NewsTalk 97.1.