Vitamin D is important to the care and maintenance of many areas of the body. When I was growing up I always heard that it was important to go out and play in the sun, but only now am I realizing the validity of that statement.
When my doctor told me that my vitamin D level was very low and that I should start taking supplements, I began doing some research as to how Vitamin D affects the functionality of the body. I was truly surprised at the findings.
Here are 10 of the most common symptoms associated with Vitamin D deficiency:
- Weakened Immune System – Prone to illness or infection
- Back Pain
- Bone Loss
- Hair Loss
- Muscle Pain
- Reduced Cognitive Function – including Dementia
- Tooth Decay
- Difficulty losing weight
Research is also being done to learn more about how vitamin D plays a role in the prevention of, or protecting against, heart failure, diabetes, cancer, respiratory tract infections and autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Who is at risk?
- Anyone who does not get enough natural sunlight.
- People with dark skin as the pigment of the skin does not allow for the absorption of the sun in the same way as lighter skin.
- Those who do not consume enough foods that are rich in Vitamin D
- People with kidney disorders or older kidneys. The kidneys may not be able to convert vitamin D to perform effectively.
- Anyone with digestive issues – the impeded digestive process is not as capable of absorbing Vitamin D from the food.
- Obesity, as it causes the fat cells to block the Vitamin D in the blood, not allowing it to be properly processed within the body.
What can I do to increase my vitamin D levels?
Start by regularly getting a safe amount of sun and follow up by consuming foods rich in vitamin D. You can use supplements as well, but before self-diagnosing or self-medicating, it would be best to have your doctor perform a simple blood test to properly diagnose your Vitamin D levels. There are repercussions to over supplementing with vitamin D that include nausea and vomiting as well as long term damage including reduced bone density.
Some foods that can help to increase your intake of Vitamin D:
- Oily Fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna
- Egg Yolks
- Cereal, orange juice and margarine that have been fortified with Vitamin D
Does Vitamin D help with weight loss?
Unfortunately, vitamin D is not the magic weight loss pill we are all searching for, but there are a number of studies showing that having normal levels of vitamin D in the body can improve the results of a proper diet. This means that if you are following a proper eating and exercise plan with low levels of Vitamin D, you may not have a lot of success, however, if your Vitamin D levels are in the “normal” range, you may increase your weight loss success.
It also appears that Vitamin D has a direct affect on hormone levels. If your hormone levels are out of balance, there is a tendency to gain weight and belly fat or have increased difficulty losing it. By balancing your Vitamin D, you can help to balance your hormones which could aid in the success of any weight or fat loss plan.