Of the causes of vitamin D deficiency, the most obvious is a lack of sun exposure.
Nursing home dwellers, city dwellers and those living in the far North are at the greatest risk of inadequate sunlight. The winter time, increased cold and wearing more clothing further decreases the sun vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is essential for optimal health.
Since one of the causes of vitamin D deficiency is a lack of sun, how much do you need? Literature is varied on this. The range is from 10-15 minutes a day to 10-15 minutes three times a week. All agree that your body will not make more than you need. Unlike supplements, our body is rather smart. However, some people have bodies that just do not make enough, no matter how much sun they get.
As a goal, some recommend 10 to 15 minutes of sun daily for those in the lower states / countries north of the equator. For those at higher latitudes about 30 minutes a day will be needed.
It is not just the skin but even our eyes benefit from the exposure to sun. Of course this is not talking about looking directly into the sun. However exposure to indirect sunlight is part of our eye health.
Obviously if you overdose on sunshine you get a sun burn. Wisdom might suggest getting the thirty minutes split over two times during the day. Again, unlike the risk of overdosing vitamin D supplements, sun exposure will not cause you to make more vitamin D than you will need.
Other groups who are additionally at risk include women who are of religious faiths that require covering the body. Also those who work inside, senior citizens, post menopausal women, those with darker pigmented skin, some disease states, and those who use lots of sunscreen are found to have lower vitamin D levels.
Also, sunscreen of an 8 or higher may prevent the adequate absorption of Vitamin "D" by literally blocking out the sun's rays. Lower factor sunscreens will let you absorb the sun and still protect you from harmful UV rays.
The time of day, clouds, location, seasons and smog may also affect the ability to absorb adequate sunshine.
Some diseases and conditions cause vitamin D deficiency.
Cystic Fibrosis or CF, a genetic disease resulting in the body producing excess excess thick, sticky mucus. Often times the pancreas can be blocked by this mucus. This prohibits enzymes from being secreted which helps the intestine absorb nutrients from food. One of the things that the body does not absorb well is fat. This makes it difficult for the body to absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D.
Crohn's disease results in the digestive tract becoming inflamed. The resulting painful swelling and frequent diarrhea make it difficult for the body to absorb sufficient nutrients and vitamins, like vitamin D.
Colitis, IBD or inflammatory bowel disease often interferes with the body's ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients like vitamin D. Frequent diarrhea that results furthers the lack of vitamin D deficiency.
Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease results in arthritis pain, fatigue and rashes and photosensitivity. Those suffering with lupus often times have to avoid getting too much sunlight. Lupus patients are often vitamin D deficient. It should also be noted that Lupus may be misdiagnosed Lyme disease or Lyme may be a co-infection of Lupus. Either way, sun exposure is essential.
Hydration and electrolytes are also essential to attain health and produce optimal vitamin D levels.
Check out the water and sea salt connection (fluid and electrolyte imbalance) with Lupus and vitamin D deficiency.
Disorderscystic Fibrosis a disorder that prevents the body from absorbing fat may cause vitamin D deficiency.
One study suggests that one of the vary causes of vitamin D deficiency could possibly be taking vitamin D supplements.
The Vitamin D Supplement Down Side looks at the article... Vitamin D discovery outpaces FDA decision making...as reported in February 2008 Bioessays.
This article raises some interesting questions about disease and supplements.
Vitamin D supplements are an immuno-modulary. This means they are immunosuppressive or it suppress your immune system.
Interestingly, the low levels of vitamin D may be a result of the disease process. Vitamin D supplementation may make the disease worse. Even with vitamin D supplementation so widely used in foods, epidemics of chronic disease like heart disease and obesity continue to rise.
The bottom line, high level studies are not demonstrating that supplementary vitamin D will make you healthier. There will be more on the causes of vitamin D deficiency as it becomes available.
Foods High in Vitamin D also boost glutathione.
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