- Why Vitamin D Deficiency Occurs?
- Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
- More Facts on Vitamin D
- Does Sun Exposure Causes Skin Cancer?
- How To Maximize Vitamin D Absorption Via Sun Exposure?
- Light Therapy for Vitamin D Deficiency
- Tanning Beds For Vitamin D Production
- Testing For Vitamin D Levels
During the winter season, vitamin D deficiency is one of the common health issues. Vitamin D is actually a hormone but prior to achieving its full function, it undergoes various processes.
To simplify and quickly understand what is vitamin D and how it is processed, here’s a short video demonstration.
The Vitamin D is involved in many processes and they’re pretty complex. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry 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 proper amount is essential as vitamin D deficiency can increase a risk of developing various health issues. There are many large-scale randomized studies on vitamin D and found that moderate to high supplementation dosage is helpful in reducing 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 you doctor and get yourself tested. It’s important 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 winter time 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.
Obese individuals are more vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency compared to people with normal weight1. One reason why most obese people are vitamin D deficient is that fat cells hold on to vitamins. In other words, the obesity limits the body’s ability to absorb and use vitamin D from sun and dietary sources2.
2. Low Vitamin D Linked To Diabetes
A study3 published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that individuals who are diabetic and prediabetic have low level of vitamin D. Regardless whether the person is obese or lean as long as he or she is diabetic or prediabetic, the levels of vitamin D is low.
The American Diabetes Association4 also believed that vitamin D is helpful in 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.
A study5 in Australia also found that 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 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. This has also been supported by a later study in 2015 by Johns Hopkins researchers.
Taking vitamin D supplementations has also been found effective to increase testosterone level 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 involves in various vital functions in the body.
4. Heart Disease
This is more of a domino effect from the previous symptoms, which is erectile dysfunction. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism9 found that an extreme low 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 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.
If you’re interested on learning more about the heart and earn new understanding on how the heart works, read the book Human Heart, Cosmic Heart. This may surprise you as the author of the book Dr. Thomas Cowan MD, a cardiologist explains the human heart is not a pump.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the joings, 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 is able to produce up to 10,000 UI. However, when it produces beyond 20,000 UI, the sun destroys the vitamin D in the skin. This is mechanism that self-regulate and prevents toxicity. Vitamin D supplementation has also been found effective as 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 cause of cancer-related deaths. This is why maintaining a healthy prostate is important and easy.
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 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. Even preterm birth14 may be cause by a low level of vitamin D.
More Facts on Vitamin D
The symptoms mentioned are serious 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.
What more can be relaxing while walking grounded on the beach or grass while having yourself a dosage of sun exposure?
Does Sun Exposure Causes Skin Cancer?
While you’re reading this article, you’re probably you’re probably asking this question. If the sunshine is beneficial to human health, why in the world there are many recommendations 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 kinds of skin damage or cancer, but the sunscreen. Personally, I know this by experience because I have never used any kind 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 properly hydrated, I’m good and it feels good, too. Yes, the skin turned to dark a bit, but don’t suffer from sunburn.
If you’re skeptical and reluctant on accepting information that sunlight does not cause skin cancer, but in fact, 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 aiming to maintain proper hydration during sun exposure, avoiding putting harmful chemicals on the body is another one. In fact, 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 the deficiency, light therapy is another option. There are studies15 that 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 source from a sun bed or tanning bed.
Hopefully, this provides you with a good overview on 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 even through a sun bed.
Testing For Vitamin D Levels
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 this vitamin D testing is done.