By Gabrielle Hungate a recent ASU Nutrition Student
Vitamin D is something that most of us know is obtained from the sun, and it is an important part of our daily makeup and how our bodies function. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating calcium and maintains phosphorus levels in the blood. We also need Vitamin D for the intestines to stimulate and absorb calcium. Additional benefits of Vitamin D are that it helps regulate insulin levels, support lung function and promote healthy bones and teeth.
Clearly, there are many reasons that it is very important to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D. As we start to age, it becomes much more of a challenge to maintain the adequate levels that we need. Typically, as we get older there are several things that can make it more of a challenge to keep what we need in our bodies. Some of these reasons are less exposure to natural sunlight, not enough dietary intake, not enough absorption in the intestines and reduced skin thickness(1).
Many of us may be deficient in this vitamin and not even be aware of it. Some symptoms of
being deficient in Vitamin D are(2):
- A compromised immune system with many viral infections
- Bone and Back Pain
- Bone Los
- Hair Loss
- Muscle Pain
Many of these symptoms, among others are being passed off of something else. Anything under 20 ng/ml is considered a deficiency. On many occasions, even if you are only slightly low, it can still wreak havoc on your body. By simply obtaining a blood test from your physician, you can identify is supplementation is required. The standard amount for supplementation can be anywhere from 1000 mg to 50,000 mg depending on how severe your deficiency is.
Recently, there was a study done in China. A retrospective analysis was done in postmenopausal women with severe Vitamin D Deficiency and compared with women that have normal Vitamin D levels. Although there are many contributing factors, lack of Vitamin D seems to be the strongest factor. It also was tied to a higher occurrence of disc degeneration. Vitamin D has such a positive effect on the bones that not having enough seemed to affect the nerve and muscle pain sensitivity. (1)This is not necessarily completely conclusive, although it does make sense, based on the importance of this vitamin. Always get checked by a physician to identify if this is a problem or something else occurring.
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1.Monaco, K. (n.d.). Postmenopausal Low Back Pain: Is Lack of Vitamin D the Problem? Retrieved from https://www.medpagetoday.com/rheumatology/backpain/84835
- 8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms
- Morgan, J. (n.d.). 5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency. Retrieved from https://www.agingcare.com/articles/signs-vitamin-d-deficiency-in-seniors-176286.htm