Vitamin D deficiency has placed many Americans, particularly African Americans, in the higher risk bracket for developing bone problems and several other kinds of diseases.
Evidence of this increasing problem could be seen in the number of cases popping up of children afflicted with rickets, a vitamin-D-related bone disorder once thought to be a condition of the past. Also, doctors have been experiencing a number of adults who suffered with serious muscle pain and atrophy until they were treated for vitamin D deficiency.
Studies have also suggested that vitamin D deficiency might heavily impact the elderly by making them prone to developing bone-thinning diseases such as osteoporosis and other bone-related problems including fractures.
Some of the other health problems associated with vitamin D deficiency include certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, depression and immune system disorders. Because of these concerns, many scientists have requested official vitamin D recommendations.
Experts who advise more sun exposure as a way to get vitamin D have stirred up many emotions among skin cancer experts who expressed concerns over people ignoring the warnings on protecting their skin while spending time in the sun.
Vitamin D Facts
Skin has the natural ability to produce vitamin D when struck by ultraviolet rays in sunlight.
The amount of vitamin D a person needs depends on factors such as where they live, their skin pigment, age and other factors.
African Americans and other dark-skinned people and those living in northern latitudes make significantly less vitamin D than other groups.
Very few people get their vitamin D requirements through their diet.
Studies showed very low levels of vitamin D among children, the elderly and women.
One nationwide study of women revealed that almost half of the African American women of childbearing age might be vitamin D deficient.
Washington Post May 21, 2004
As I have been saying for years now, vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient and you must optimize your levels if you want optimal health.
Unfortunately, many Americans do not get enough vitamin D, largely because of experts' recommendations to avoid all sun exposure.
Now, in a much-needed turn of events, increasing numbers of scientists are agreeing that many Americans, particularly African Americans, may be suffering from unrecognized deficiencies of vitamin D, which increase the risk of bone and muscle problems and perhaps a host of other diseases including:
- Many forms of cancer
- High blood pressure
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Winter, when sun exposure is at its lowest, is the time of year when you need to be most concerned about the amount of vitamin D you are receiving.
Although the majority of Americans are deficient in vitamin D during the winter, it is essential to understand that in order to know how much vitamin D you should be taking, you should get your blood level checked.
Unfortunately, very few doctors do the blood test for vitamin D.
Even as the word leaks out about vitamin D to the traditional medical community, testing for vitamin D will not skyrocket like cholesterol or other testing because there is no expensive drug to push, thus making the public more aware.
If you are uncertain about your vitamin D levels, you can read my past article on vitamin D testing and get up to date on this important topic before it is too late.
Unless you are getting significant sun exposure on large amounts of your skin, in fact, I would advise reading the article right now.
If you live in an area that doesnt get a lot of sunshine I would highly recommend you take a high-quality cod liver oil as it is the best source of vitamin D (other than the sun, of course). It is the healthiest way to assure you are getting the proper amount of vitamin D and to decrease your risk of cancer and other diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency.