Vitamin D Health Benefits – The Truth and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

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During the winter season, vitamin D deficiency is one of the common health issues. Vitamin D is a hormone, but before achieving its full function, it undergoes various processes.

Sunlight Becomes Vitamin D
How sunlight becomes vitamin D in the body?

To simplify and quickly understand what vitamin D is and how it is processed, here’s a short video demonstration.

Vitamin D is involved in many processes, and they’re pretty complicated. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about how vitamin D works as the body already knows how to to do that. Our job is to get enough amount of quality vitamin D.

Having a proper amount is essential, as vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of developing various health issues. There are many large-scale randomized studies on vitamin D and found that moderate to high supplementation dosage helps reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other chronic diseases.

Why Vitamin D Deficiency Occurs?

The best way to determine whether you’re getting enough vitamin D or not is through a test. Talk to your doctor and get yourself tested. It’s essential to know your vitamin D level. We’ll also be covering a few of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

Most of the time, vitamin D deficiency can happen during wintertime because most people don’t have enough sun exposure. Other reasons could be that even during summer, some people are just lazy or afraid of sun exposure. Additionally, kids are more into playing video games sitting for long hours instead of playing actively outside.

Another reason would be that people are not consuming the right foods rich in vitamin D. Here’s another quick video that explains why vitamin D deficiency happens.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Now we’re going to talk about symptoms and signs you lack vitamin D. Vitamin D is a hormone with a wide range of functions. Hence, the ones listed below may just be a shortlist, but they’re most common, and yet most people are not aware of it.

1. Obesity

Obese individuals are more vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency compared to people with normal weight1. One reason why most overweight people are vitamin D deficient is that fat cells hold on to vitamins. In other words, obesity limits the body’s ability to absorb and use vitamin D from the sun and dietary sources2.

Therefore, that belly fat is not just hurting brain health and sexual function; it also hampers vitamin D absorption.

2. Low Vitamin D Linked To Diabetes

A study3 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has shown that individuals who are diabetic and prediabetic have low levels of vitamin D.

The American Diabetes Association4 also believed that vitamin D is helpful in the treatment of diabetes.

vitamin D status appears to play a role in the development and treatment of diabetes. It is possible that optimal levels of serum vitamin D may be different for people at risk for developing diabetes, those with diabetes, and those without diabetes.

Teresa Martin, RD, CDE, LD and 
R. Keith Campbell, RPh, CDE, FASHP

Diabetes Spectrum 2011 May; 24(2): 113-118.https://doi.org/10.2337/diaspect.24.2.113

A study5 in Australia also found that a low level of Vitamin D is linked to diabetes. On the other hand, a different study6 finds that vitamin D therapy depicts an encouraging therapeutic intervention in the treatment of diabetic complications.

3. Erectile Dysfunction

There are studies7 that linked vitamin D deficiency to erectile dysfunction. It is also an early warning of cardiovascular problems. It has also been supported by a later study in 2015 by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Taking vitamin D supplementations has also been found useful to increase testosterone levels in men8, which is a hormone believed to be the male sex hormone. But, in reality, testosterone is more than just a sex hormone as it is involved in various vital functions in the body.

4. Heart Disease

It is more of a domino effect from the previous symptoms, which is erectile dysfunction. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism9 found that a deficient level of vitamin D is linked to heart failure and even sudden cardiac death.

On the other hand, the researchers were uncertain and found no evidence that increasing vitamin D and reducing the risk of heart disease. But, a more recent study by the University of Leeds in the U.K. says Vitamin D3 improves heart function.

This is a significant breakthrough for patients. It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness – known as heart failure. These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients.

Dr Klaus Witte, from the School of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, led the study, known as VINDICATE.

If you’re interested in learning more about the heart and earn a new understanding of how the heart works, read the book Human Heart, Cosmic Heart. It may surprise you as the author of the book Dr. Thomas Cowan MD, a cardiologist who explains the human heart is not a pump.

5. Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the joints, skin, and various organs inside the body. It is also known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus(SLE). Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that patients with lupus have severe vitamin D deficiency.

A day of sun exposure can produce up to 10,000 UI. However, when it produces beyond 20,000 UI, the sun destroys the vitamin D in the skin. It is a mechanism that self-regulate and prevents toxicity. Vitamin D supplementation has also been found useful as a treatment for lupus10 as an oral supplementation11.

6. Prostate Cancer

The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. Today, prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths. It is why maintaining a healthy prostate is essential.

One study12 finds that vitamin D deficiency is a predictor for prostate cancer. In a separate study, vitamin D supplementation prevents prostate cancer from becoming aggressive.

Aside from eating a plant-based diet, which of course, includes nuts and seeds like walnuts and pumpkin seeds, sun exposure is another and eating foods containing vitamin D. This simple change in diet and lifestyle can have a significant impact on overall health including the male reproductive health.

These are just a few of the symptoms linked to vitamin D deficiency. There is a host of other symptoms that not only affects men but women and children, as well. Also, a low level of vitamin D could cause preterm birth14.

Vitamin D Rich Foods
Foods Rich In Vitamin D

More Facts on Vitamin D

The symptoms mentioned are severe conditions that can be avoided through healthy eating and lifestyle, including a daily dose of sun exposure. If you’re in an area where the sunshine is limited, you should take vitamin supplementation, light therapy and eat foods rich in vitamin D.

But there are more vitamin D health benefits, including resistance against flu, as well as boost the immune system. Experts believed that vitamin D is also beneficial for stress management.

What more can be relaxing while walking grounded on the beach or grass while having yourself a dosage of sun exposure?

Vitamin D and Immunity

Dr. John Campbell shows studies and explains the benefits of taking vitamin D, especially for white people living in the northern hemisphere.

Does Sun Exposure Cause Skin Cancer?

While you’re reading this article, you’re probably asking this question. If the sunshine is beneficial to human health, why in the world there are many recommendations for avoiding the sun and putting on sunscreen?

Well, if you’ve watched the video above, you should know by now that the sun or sunlight does not cause any kind of skin damage or cancer, but the sunscreen. I know this by experience because I have never used any type of sunscreen in my entire life.

I’m in my 40’s and have regular sun exposure. There are times I’ve been exposing to the sun for hours from early morning until noontime. As long as I’m adequately hydrated, I’m okay, and it feels good, too. Yes, the skin turned to dark a bit, but don’t suffer from sunburn.

The three primary choices for hydration include water, coconut water, and lemon water. Of course, when watermelon is available or other watery fruits, they’re a good option, too.

If you’re skeptical and reluctant to accept information that sunlight does not cause skin cancer, but helpful and beneficial, do some research yourself. There are now experts, including Ph.D.s and health professionals who are talking openly about this subject.

But first, you just have to set aside what you know, especially if you’re watching TV most of the time where ads of sunscreens are shown. Set aside what you knew, and do some research. Then, go back to what you know and what you’ve just learned and thought about it. If you’re like me, I would go out and test it myself.

But, well, you may not. Here’s another medical doctor talking about the health benefits of sunlight, and it does not cause skin cancer.

How To Maximize Vitamin D Absorption Via Sun Exposure?

Aside from not using sunscreen and instead of aiming to maintain proper hydration during sun exposure, avoiding putting harmful chemicals on the body is another one. Soaps, especially those containing antibacterial, are not healthy for the skin.

Get more vitamin D tips from Dr. Mercola. He is one of the few health professionals who walks his talks. He does a daily walk along the beach, walking barefoot while enjoying the sunlight. If there’s one person you should listen to about vitamin D, it’s Dr. Mercola.

Light Therapy for Vitamin D Deficiency

Aside from taking vitamin D supplements to avoid deficiency, light therapy is another option. Some studies15 looked into light therapy and found it’s just as effective.

You can easily find these UV light therapy lamps on Amazon, or even at your local store. But, online stores like Amazon.com provide a wide range of choices.

UV light therapy is particularly useful during winter as during this season, SAD(seasonal affective disorder)16 goes up. It is also appropriate for people with depression, insomnia, and many other health conditions.

Tanning Beds For Vitamin D Production

Here’s another option, tanning bed for vitamin D production. There was a study17 conducted on this and found it’s beneficial for vitamin D production.

Dr. Michael Holick supports it, and here are his tips on getting vitamin D sources from a sunbed or tanning bed.

Hopefully, this provides you with a good overview of how to get your vitamin D levels stable during winter. Even with limited sunlight, you can still get enough vitamin D levels through food, supplementation, light therapy, and also through a sunbed.

Testing For Vitamin D Levels

A standard method to test for vitamin D levels is through a blood sample. The test is called the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. Before the extraction of blood samples, fasting is required.

However, Harvard says that vitamin D testing is not recommended for most people, especially those who are healthy.

Fortunately, there is a way to test your vitamin D level without a blood sample. Dr. Robert Barrington explains how vitamin D testing is done.

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