According to the Harvard School of Public Health, over 1 Billion people in the world have low vitamin D. In the US, 42% of adults have deficiency with higher rates in blacks (82%) and Hispanics (69%).
Why is this a huge problem, and why are we not hearing more about it?
The risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are:
diet changes, less sunlight exposure, dark skin and obesity.
Therefore, it seems clear that this issue has increased recently as people groups have changed the way they live. The main sources of vitamin D are fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, and oysters as well as eggs. Many cultures are not eating fish as much.
The other main source of vitamin D is sunlight.
For the last 60 plus years our society has changed from an agricultural bases to industrial. We spend most time inside now. Spending more time indoors along with diet changes (for the worse) have made us obese. On top of all that, for the last 20 years, the medical community has been banging the gong of cancer risk with sun exposure. All these conditions have lead to the problems with vitamin D deficiency we are having.
Low vitamin D can lead to a lot of healthcare problems, as vitamin D is needed for healthy calcium absorption and bones but also many other regulations in the body. Not having this vitamin D can lead to bone deformities, chronic muscle pain, muscle weakness, sweating, and more fractures. Also, the risks of many serious chronic medical conditions are increased with low vitamin D: high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular risk (heart attacks), depression and memory issues. This is serious stuff!
A simple blood test can test your level of vitamin D. If it is below 30 ng/ml you will need to take oral supplements, sometimes prescription doses. After several months of supplements the blood test can be repeated and then a maintenance dose of vitamin D can be used. Proper diet and weight loss can help too.
One caution about vitamin D, because it is fat-soluble (meaning it’s stored in our fat) patients can over dose on vitamin D. This will cause other problems that patients don’t need. So, patients shouldn’t just take vitamin D supplements randomly. We recommend working with your physician to monitor your vitamin D levels.
At Direct Access MD, we strive to check vitamin D levels on our patients to prevent serious medical issues in the future.
Have you had your Vitamin D checked?
That’s what Doc says…