Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by numerous factors. It is not as simple as saying that you do not have enough vitamin D circulating and you need supplementation.
Sometimes people will type the misspelled search term for this info as...vitamin d deficiancy, deficency or vitamin d defiency. How ever you spell it, the information is here.
The most obvious cause of vitamin D deficiency is inadequate exposure of the skin to sun light. A second reason would be inadequate dietary intake. Additional factors could include hereditary disorders, liver disease, kidney disease and excess use of sunscreens. The link below will take you to a more comprehensive review of the causes of vitamin D deficiency.
The vitamin we call D is in reality a hormone or to be more technical, a prohormone.
It can be found naturally in foods, as an additive in foods and it is synthesized with in our skin when exposed to sun light. It acts like a natural steroid. So, vitamin D is technically not a vitamin. Those who get adequate exposure to sunlight do not require dietary supplementation.
Dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolk, fish oil and a number of plants.
Vitamin D is not immediately something that our body can use. So, it needs to process it further to make it bioactive. So, from the skin goes through the liver (made into a form that lasts several weeks in the body) and then the kidneys to become its most useful form (which lasts only a few hours).
There are two basic forms of vitamin D.
Vitamin D2 also known as ergocalciferol.Vitamin D3 also known as cholecalciferol.
Ergocalciferol comes from plants and diets typically do not contain adequate quantities to meet the bodies needs.
In the body it can be found in three forms.
Calcitol: the inactive form produced in the skin by UV light from the sun.
Calcidiol: the partially active form that circulates in our blood. It is produced in the liver from calcitol.
Calcitriol: The active Vitamin D3 that is produced in the kidneys from calcidiol. It is the Calcitriol, the bioactive form of the vitamin D that plays an important role in regulating body levels of calcium and phosphorus, and in bone production.
Recent studies are pointing to receptors for vitamin D being present in a number of different kind of cells. It is now understood that this steroid / hormone has biologic effects which extend far beyond controlling mineral metabolism.
Cholecalciferol is the type of vitamin D that is added to “enriched” or “fortified” foods.
What does this mean for your personal health? Vitamin D is essential. Many disease processes are associated with lower vitamin D levels. Interestingly, vitamin D is also a co-factor of Glutathione. Low vitamin D means low glutathione.
There is one word of caution here. Low vitamin D levels do not necessarily mean that we need to supplement with vitamin D. Perhaps our biggest need is to get outside, get fresh air and get some sun on our skin. Consider the following study.
Trevor Marshall, Ph.D., professor at Australia’s Murdoch University School of Biological Medicine and Biotechnology reported in Autoimmunity Research Foundation (2008, January 27). Vitamin D Deficiency Study Raises some questions.
The study brings out that even with supplementation, chronic disease like heart disease and obesity are still getting worse.
Dr. Marshal notes; "Our disease model has shown us why low levels of vitamin D are observed in association with major and chronic illness," Then he added. "Vitamin D is a secosteroid hormone, and the body regulates the production of all it needs. In fact, the use of supplements can be harmful, because they suppress the immune system so that the body cannot fight disease and infection effectively."
If your skin color is lighter, there is a better chance of deeper penetration by UV-B rays. This means a decreased need of exposure to make adequate vitamin D production. The darker your skin, the the more UV-B ray exposure to penetrate it and produce vitamin D.
Time of year can affect how much sunlight you get. People living above 35 degrees latitude north or south will get little to no UV-B rays from early fall to late spring.
Altitude or the higher you live above sea level results in increased UV-B rays exposure.
Both pollution and clouds decrease the amount of UV-B rays that you skin can turn into vitamin D.
The older we get, the harder it is for UV-B rays to turn cholesterol to vitamin D. As we age, it is essential to get vitamin D from food sources over sunlight.
If nothing else is working and conventional medical treatments are not proving effective, consider discussing this with your doctor as a treatment option. Consider the various ways to expose your body to UV light. Of course this is more difficult in the winter and especially for the elderly living in nursing homes.
Consider dietary sources of vitamin D to boost blood levels.
This may just be one of the ulterior or underlying ways to improve our health. Many health promotion steps are multifaceted requiring multiple resources to obtain optimal health or healing.
Using sunscreen may expose children to vitamin D deficiency. One national survey found 70 percent of children lack sufficient vitamin D. This puts them at risk for a host of ailments, including rickets, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Girls were found to be at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency as were obese kids who drank milk less than once a week. TV watching and computer / video-games activity for more than four hours a day resulted in lower vitamin D levels.
Those with darker skin were also at greater risk.
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