Are you deficient in sun vitamin? The top 10 health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency


Deficiency in vitamin D affects more than 1 billion people worldwide. Vitamin D is very common among adults and children in the United States. You may be deficient in vitamin D if you don’t get enough sunlight or don’t take vitamin D supplements. Keep in mind that getting sufficient amount of vitamin D through foods isn’t that easy if you don’t regularly get sun exposure.

It’s hard for many people to get enough sun exposure during winter or in places that there isn’t enough sun throughout the year.

Here are the following signs that you may be deficient in Vitamin D:

>> If you have darker skin color: Those with darker skin pigmentation need more vitamin D than people with lighter skin. According to Dr. Holick ‘Skin pigment is a natural sunscreen. African American children require two to three times as much sun exposure, without sunscreen, to satisfy their requirement for vitamin D’.

>> If you don’t spend enough time outdoors or tend to cover up your skin

>> Older people are more likely to be vitamin D deficient: As you get older you need more vitamin D to absorb calcium and lack of vitamin D can lead to calcium deficiency and bone and joint problems.

>> You have chronic pain: As mentioned vitamin D deficiency and calcium deficiency go hand in hand and lack of vitamin D can cause joint and bone problems, especially for elderly.

>> You are pregnant or obese: People who are obese or overweight and pregnant women need more vitamin D. The same thing is true for athletes or people with higher body mass.

>> You have chronic depression: It’s normal to feel down or depressed sometimes, but if your depression is taking a toll on your life and health, you may be deficient in vitamin D. According to researchers, people who are vitamin D deficient are 11 times more likely to be depressed compared to others.

>> You have gastrointestinal issues: If you are deficient in vitamin D, your body is affected by the way it metabolizes the fat and you end up absorbing lower levels of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D.

>> Excessive sweating: If you are in a room with normal temperature, but your forehead is covered with sweat or you are excessively perspiring you may want to check for vitamin D deficiency.

>> If you are vegan or don’t eat enough fatty fish such as wild salmon (great source of omega 3 fatty acids DHA), milk, cheese, or egg yolks: It’s very hard to get sufficient amount of vitamin D on a daily basis through food only. If you don’t eat enough fish, milk, cheese, or egg yolk you could be deficient in vitamin D

>> You have chronic kidney disease: If you are deficient in vitamin D, your kidneys could have difficulty absorbing and metabolizing enough vitamin D.

Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals could have a cascade effect on the body and lead to many health issues. Vitamin D happens to be very important in regulating your metabolism and boosting your immune system. If you live in darker places or don’t get enough sunlight, make sure to take vitamin D supplements. Over a period of time, lack of vitamin D could result in serious health problems and chronic diseases.

Here are the top 10 health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency:

1. Alzheimer’s and dementia:

According to researchers, vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  Recent studies also show that vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) can fight inflammation and plaque buildup in the brain (the main cause for Alzheimer’s disease). ‘Our new study sheds further light on a possible role for nutritional substances such as vitamin D3 and omega-3 in boosting immunity to help fight Alzheimer's" says Dr. Milan Fiala, from the School of Medicine at UCLA.

2. Auto-immune diseases:

Vitamin D deficiency could lead to a wide range of auto-immune diseases such as respiratory problems, digestive issues or multiple sclerosis.

3. Prostate cancer:

According to researchers, men who are deficient in vitamin D are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D could help to fight the growth of cancer cells.

4. Chronic depression and mental issues such as schizophrenia:

There is a strong coloration between vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia researchers say. In fact, people with vitamin D deficiency are twice more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with chronic depression.

5. Cardiovascular diseases:

Vitamin D deficiency could lead to a wide range of cardio diseases such as strokes or heart attacks. In fact, researchers suggest that most heart diseases are linked to vitamin D deficiency.

6. Loss of interest in sex:

According to researchers, men with severe erectile dysfunction (ED) are significantly low in vitamin D. ‘Low levels of vitamin D might increase the ED risk by promoting endothelial dysfunction. Men with ED should be analyzed for vitamin D levels and particularly to A-ED patients with a low level a vitamin D supplementation is suggested’ researchers say.

7. Arthritis:

In a study, 62% of patients with psoriatic arthritis showed insufficient levels of vitamin D. Previous research also shows that low levels of vitamin D could result in serve pain and inflammation in joints and conditions such as psoriatic arthritis.

8. Infections such as pneumonia:

According to researchers from University of Eastern Finland, people with vitamin D deficiency are twice more likely to be at the risk of developing infections such as pneumonia. According to Japanese researchers, taking vitamin D supplements on a daily basis could also lower the risk of influenza A infection in children by 40%.

9. Neurological issues such as Parkinson’s disease:

Research shows that vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk of neuromuscular disorders such as multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease.

10. Brain damage or premature death:

According to researchers, rats fed on a diet low on vitamin D suffered severe brain damage from the attack of free radicals. ‘Given that vitamin D deficiency is especially widespread among the elderly, we investigated how, during aging from middle-age to old-age, low vitamin D affected the oxidative status of the brain. Adequate vitamin D serum levels are necessary to prevent free radical damage in brain and subsequent deleterious consequences’ says Prof. Allan Butterfield.

According to researchers, people with vitamin D deficiency are twice more likely to die prematurely. ‘Results of the study revealed that participants with lower levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in their blood were twice as likely to die prematurely, compared with those who had higher blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D’ say researchers.

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