It is estimated that over 50% of the worldwide population suffers from Vitamin D deficiency, and yet, you won’t see it coming up very often in news and health circles. Vitamin D is an amazing vitamin that is linked to numerous body functions and defenses. Many years ago, public health officials realized the need for Vitamin D supplementation and started fortifying certain staple foods with it, the most common being milk. The vitamin is unique because it exists so scarcely in food, and is mainly produced by your own body. Called the “sunshine vitamin,” the human body creates Vitamin D when it is exposed to direct sunlight. In a culture where people just aren’t outside like in the past, many people are just not getting enough Vitamin D from the real natural source. This goes on for years and leads to a chronic deficiency which can cause some pretty amazing symptoms that you probably attribute to other problems.
Vitamin D is famously critical for healthy bones, but it also plays critical roles in the immune system. It even helps ward off cancer and other diseases, most notably rheumatoid arthritis. If all that isn’t enough, Vitamin D deficiency is often linked to people that suffer from depression. While this might not be the only cause of the condition, it certainly plays a part. However, there are other things that Vitamin D deficiency causes that are rarely talked about publicly. Chronic back or neck pain can be a sign of a deficiency. One of the classic symptoms is a chest pain in the sternum, often mistook for indigestion or even a heart attack. It can also play a role in blood pressure and contributes to the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease. A deficiency can often cause a constant lethargic feeling that most people think of as chronic fatigue syndrome. Vitamin D really is a wonderful substance that we unfortunately just aren’t getting enough of.
Other vitamins are prolific in food sources, but Vitamin D is notoriously rare. The best natural food sources are oily fish, such as salmon, and shitake mushrooms. Eggs also contain Vitamin D. When choosing salmon, try to find wild-caught ones, as they have been shown to be much higher than their farm-raised counterparts. Eating these foods can be helpful, but taking a Vitamin D supplement is still not a bad idea. Also, good old fashioned getting out in the sun can be the best remedy of all. The body creates 20,000 IU of Vitamin D in just fifteen minutes of direct sunlight exposure. Remember that direct sunlight exposure is just that; the body does not create Vitamin D through car or house windows. While sunscreen is recommended in the sun, it does slow down the production of Vitamin D. So, the best way to get Vitamin D naturally is by being exposed to the sun for short periods without sunscreen or other obstacles in the way.
Vitamin D is especially important in children. It has been estimated that over 70% of the children in the world’s population demonstrate a Vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to stunted growth. Even severe asthma has been linked to Vitamin D deficiency.
Don’t let yourself be a victim of this often overlooked malady. Whatever method you choose to make sure you are getting the Vitamin D you need, make sure you stick with it. This is one vitamin that you simply don’t want to live without.