Almost 70% of North Americans are deficient in Vitamin D.
As we visit the shortest, coldest days of the year, consider getting a Vitamin D blood test. The 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is a test that measures how much vitamin D is in your body and is done with a blood draw. Vitamin D deficiency is not limited to any sector of the population occuring in children and adults of all ages.
If you are Vitamin D deficient, these health issues are silently at work:
Bone health issues – you should lay the best bone density of your life down as a child/teen. John Hopkins experts say all children should be screened for risk factors and to order blood tests for those found to be at high risk. Children (and adults) at risk for vitamin D deficiency include:
- those with vitamin D deficient diets
- breast-fed infants as breast milk contains minimal vitamin D
- those with obesity
- those with darker skin (they produce less vitamin D from sun exposure)
- those with cystic fibrosis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders which can interfere with food absorption
One in ten children is estimated to be Vitamin D deficient. This deficiency in childhood can cause skeletal deformities, brittle bones, frequent fractures and lead to premature osteoporosis in later life.
Much of our life-long health is pre-programmed in childhood, and many adult diseases are rooted in exposures, lifestyle and diet during the first decade of life.
Dental Health Issues – weak dental enamel has been correlated with low Vitamin D levels. The weaker the enamel, the more cavity prone you are.
Adult Vitamin D deficiency issues may create these additional health concerns:
Joint function issues – joint pain is generally worse when Vitamin D is deficient
Unhealthy cell growth issues – Men with high levels of Vitamin D had less unhealthy cell growth (17%) and a huge reduction in unhealthy GI cell growth (43%). Some recent studies suggest that Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to some cancers. There is a well-documented association between vitamin D intake and the risk of breast cancer and recovery from breast cancer. Low vitamin D intake has also been indicated in colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancer, as well as multiple myeloma.
Insulin function – as we age Vitamin D is critical in optimizing insulin function. Diabetics of all ages also benefit from optimization of Vitamin D levels
PMS and Menopause â€“ 700-1000 IU of Vitamin D a day reduced the risk of PMS and menopausal symptoms
Depression – Vitamin D levels have been correlated to depression in many studies. One study showed that after two months on Vitamin D, depressive symptoms were significantly reduced.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D include cold water fish such as sardines, salmon and tuna, egg yolks, Vitamin D fortified milk and orange juice, certain cereals, yogurt and cheese.
Be careful about purchasing Vitamin D over the counter and do NOT take prescription Vitamin D2 if you can avoid it. Consumer Reports recently listed the Vitamin D products that exceed lead allowances under the California lead guidelines: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/05/most-vitamin-d-pills-measure-up-our-tests-find/index.htm. Acceptable levels are also listed by Consumer Reports for these products: (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/05/most-vitamin-d-pills-measure-up-our-tests-find/index.htm). Pharmaceutical grade Vitamin D from companies such as Orthomolecular and Metagenics ensure highly absorbable forms of Vitamin D are available for safe, daily use.
So, for 2014 – get your Vitamin D levels tested and do so for your family also. Talk to your doctor about supplementation if your levels are low and you should do a better job of staying well!