Humans are genetically adjusted to the environment of their ancestors. But the lifestyle
changes that have occurred over the past approximately 10000 years including reduced
sun exposure have been much too rapid for the human genome to adapt. Studies have
shown that in the USA there is less mortality rate in high sun exposure residential. Low
sun exposure is directly linked to vitamin D deficiency in the body.
Vitamin D is produced in the skin when the skin is exposed to UV radiation that comes from the sun or it can be obtained from the diet. Low vitamin D status is getting extremely common due to less exposure to the sun in this modern lifestyle.
Benefits of vitamins
Vitamins and minerals are known as micronutrients because they are needed in the
body in smaller amounts. But these smaller amounts of them plays a very vital role in
proper body functioning and development. Every day your body generates new cells,
new skin, muscles, and bones. It produces rich red blood with nutrients and oxygen to
nourish each and every cell. It sends nerve signals that move along pathways between
the brain and the body.
To perform all these functions your body needs some raw materials in the form of
vitamins and minerals. Vitamins play so many roles in the body. They support bone
development, boost the immune system, produce and release energy, build proteins
and helps cells to multiply, protect vision, protect the body from free radicals and
pathogens, and helps to absorb nutrients.
How much vitamin D is important?
Vitamin D is also called the sunshine vitamin because your body can produce this
vitamin when it's exposed to the sunlight. Its main role is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and supporting the immune system of the body. Getting an
adequate amount of vitamin D is necessary for normal growth and development of
bones and teeth and for protection from certain diseases.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in
2006 vitamin D can help to lower the risks of having multiple sclerosis.
Studies have shown that people with vitamin D deficiency have more risk of
experiencing depression and anxiety. Scientists suggest that vitamin D supplementation
can help to ward off depression and anxiety.
Vitamin D helps to lose weight rapidly. Studies have shown that people having vitamin
D and calcium supplements lose weight more. Vitamin D also helps overweight people
to lower the risk factors of heart diseases. A study revealed that overweight people who
took daily vitamin D supplements reduced their risk makers of heart diseases.
According to the 2008 findings published in Circulation, Vitamin D decreases your
chance to get heart disease. Deficiency of vitamin D can cause abnormalities of bones such as rickets in children, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia. If you are not getting enough vitamin D you are at risk of developing certain diseases such as bone abnormalities, heart diseases, and cancers.
Dietary sources of vitamin D
Following are the sources of vitamin D from the diet:
orange juice (fortified)
Lack of vitamin D for black people in the USA
If you have more melanin in your skin the ability of the skin to absorb vitamin D will be
lower. Studies have shown that nearly 97 percent of Hispanic blacks have vitamin D
deficiency. According to a new study by The Coper Institute, nearly 76 percent of
African Americans are vitamin D deficient. An earlier study from The Coper Institute
shows that obese and overweight African Americans are 70 percent more likely to have
a deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency can be a cause of mortality in African Americans.
Generally, African Americans are at higher risk for chronic and life-shortening conditions
such as hypertension, heart diseases, cancers, insulin resistance, diabetes type 2,
metabolic syndrome, and strokes. And some of these conditions are associated with
vitamin D deficiency.
Tips to increase vitamin D intake
There are the following ways to improve vitamin D levels in the body.
Spend more time in the sunlight if you have darker skin.
Your geographical location matters. If you live closer to the equator, then there
would be more production of vitamin D.
Sunscreen and a certain type of clothes can block the UV rays and inhibit vitamin
Eat more foods rich in vitamin D such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
Eat vitamin D fortified foods.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and its deficiency can generate serious health
problems. You can improve your vitamin D status in the body by spending more time in
the sun and eating a healthy and balanced diet. If you feel you are low in this essential
nutrient, please consult with your doctor and get your vitamin D levels checked.