Vitamin D is an important nutrient for general health. Vitamin d deficiency is now a recognized pandemic and African Americans are a high-risk population for contracting the deficiency. Studies have linked Vitamin D deficiency to weaker bones and increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The chief source of Vitamin D is direct sunlight but most people will require a supplement to meet their daily Vitamin D requirements.

Are you tired and achy? Do you feel depressed, irritable and fatigued all the time? If your answer is yes, you could be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency. Read on to find out more about the importance of Vitamin D and from where you can get the Vitamin D, your body is craving for.

Importance Of Vitamin D – The ‘Sunshine’ Vitamin

Vitamin D is one the most vital nutrient required for general health and well being. Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D occurs naturally in very few foods and is produced chiefly when ultraviolet rays from the sunlight strike the skin.

Vitamin D And Bone Health Go Hand In Hand

Deficiency of Vitamin D can (literally) be a pain in the back as this vitamin is responsible for healthy bones and joints. Vitamin D helps calcium to get absorbed from intestine into the blood. Without vitamin D, calcium will not be absorbed in the body. Vitamin D has many roles in the body, including bone mineralization (hardening) and modulation of cell growth. Vitamin D also boosts immunity besides having a role in reducing inflammation (swelling).

Beware, Vitamin D Deficiency Can Lead To Severe Diseases : Studies have found that deficiency of Vitamin D may exacerbate the following

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with an increased risk of the following:

  • Common cancers
  • Autoimmune diseases (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis)
  • Hypertension
  • Infectious diseases

Recent studies have linked Vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk of the following

Finding Vitamin D, From Sunlight To Eggs

Sunlight is the chief source of Vitamin D. Your body will manufacture Vitamin D for itself if you expose your skin to direct sunlight. Remember, most sunscreens lower the ability of the skin to absorb the specific wavelength of sunlight necessary to produce Vitamin D. Therefore, it is best to avoid using sunscreen if you aim to get some Vitamin D out of your sunlight.

Moreover, sunlight falling in through a glass window will be of little help in producing Vitamin D.

Geographic Location

Furthermore, the further north you live in the US, the less likely you are to meet your vitamin D needs. In the continental US, if you live north of the 37th parallel (roughly where San Francisco, California and Richmond, Virginia are) you should expect to make little vitamin D from natural sunlight during the winter months. In addition, the farther north you go, the less vitamin D you are likely to make from winter sunlight partly due to longer periods of wintertime.

Food

Food sources for Vitamin D are few. Eggs, Vitamin D fortified milk, salmon, tuna and sardines are a rich source of Vitamin D but they will not meet your daily requirement of the nutrient. More often than not, a supplement is required to meet the daily requirement of Vitamin D.

Skin Tone

Moreover, the darker your skin, the less efficiently you produce Vitamin D. For this reason, Afro-Americans have on average about half the blood level of Vitamin D when compared to ethnicities with lighter skin tones.

Outdoor Playing

Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic. Keep yourself safe – play outdoors more often and take a supplement if prescribed.