Why is Vitamin D Important?
Hearing the words unrecognized pandemic can elicit fear in the most even tempered person. However; learning that you may have control over your exposure to this so called pandemic should come as some relief. To protect yourself you don’t need to get a shot, have your home debugged, or limit your travel. You probably don’t even need any special lotions or potions, you just need to have a simple understanding of why vitamin D is important.
Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” has a receptor site on every cell in your body, which means every cell in your body needs vitamin D for some function. A healthy level of vitamin D is needed to “maintain bone health throughout life, but also plays an important role in reducing risk of many chronic diseases including type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, deadly cancers, heart disease and infectious diseases.” 1
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may include:
- General muscle pain and weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Chronic pain
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Restless sleep
- Poor concentration
- Bladder problems
- Constipation or diarrhea
Would you take action if protecting yourself from this global scourge required having fun and eating foods you like?
After having a breakfast containing whole eggs (yolks are a significant source of dietary vitamin D), go play outside for 15 or 20 minutes and you will be well on your way to satisfying your body’s daily need for vitamin D, and you will have done your part to protect yourself from a pandemic.
In truth, maintaining a healthy vitamin D level may be that simple. Because of a concern about skin cancer many people have done themselves a disservice by shying away from daily sun exposure by not going into the sun at all, using excessive amounts of sunscreen, or completely covering their skin when they are outside, thus becoming part of the pandemic. Although some vitamin D is found in food, it is not enough to maintain a healthy level. Moderate sun exposure is still the most effective way to ward off the ill effects of vitamin D deficiency.
Evaluation by a qualified professional is an important step in determining if you have a vitamin D deficiency, if it is the cause of your health concerns or the effect.
To learn more about why vitamin D is important, what is considered an optimal level, and the risks of not maintaining healthy levels click the links below:
1 The vitamin D deficiency pandemic and consequences for nonskeletal health: mechanisms of action.
Holick, MF-Department of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Diabetes, Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.