Vitamin D Deficiency: A Global Concern
The Harvard School of Public Health states that Vitamin D deficiency is now a pandemic. The major cause of this deficiency is lack of sun exposure, the major source of vitamin D for most humans. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D are often inadequate to satisfy vitamin D requirements.
Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and will precipitate and exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious diseases.
The few foods that naturally contain vitamin D are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, and oils from these fish, including cod liver oil. Vitamin D requirements are highly individual; the amount you need is dependent upon factors such as your skin color, where you live, and your daily sun exposure. It’s important to have your levels tested. The correct test your doctor needs to order is 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is the better marker for overall Vitamin D status.
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 tested sooner rather than later.
1. You Have Darker Skin
2. You Feel "Blue"
3. You're 50 or Older
4. You're Overweight or Obese (or Have a Higher Muscle Mass)
5. Your Bones Ache
6. Head Sweating
7. You Have Gut Trouble