Deficiency of Vitamin D is actually a common occurrence. This is especially true in areas where there are a lot of cloudy days and not very much sunlight, since sunlight exposure remains the easiest way to get this vitamin into your body. Generally, it is believed that about 10-15 minutes a day of sunlight exposure without sunscreen is enough to achieve this. And it is important to make sure that Vitamin D levels are adequate, since this vitamins is necessary for healthy lung, heart, bone, muscle and brain function. People who are obese, have dark skin, digestive or kidney problems or who are on a strict vegetarian diet are at higher risk for this deficiency. Below are some of the conditions and diseases linked to a lack of Vitamin D.
One of the most important functions of Vitamin D is to work together with calcium to keep the bones dense and strong. In absence of Vitamin D, bones can be depleted of calcium, which can make them brittle and can greatly increase the chances of a fracture. This is especially a problem for women who are post-menopausal.
Another important task for Vitamin D is to decrease inflammation in the lungs and to increase the production of an anti-inflammatory protein. Without adequate levels of Vitamin D, however, lung function can worsen and control of asthma symptoms can be poor, leading to increased frequency and severity of attacks.
Lack of Vitamin D appears to be linked to higher blood pressure (hypertension) and also to higher cholesterol levels: precursors to Vitamin D actually turn into cholesterol if they do not receive adequate sunlight exposure. Both hypertension and high cholesterol are risk factors for cardiac disease.
Inadequate levels of Vitamin D are also linked to depression, since Vitamin D-receptors occur on many areas of the brain that are responsible for many different functions, including the regulation of emotions. Supplementation with this vitamin can sometimes help the depression.
Type II Diabetes
A link has also been discovered between low levels of Vitamin D and the development of Type II diabetes. It is believed that this is because Vitamin D can affect the way insulin is secreted and how sensitive the cells are to the action of that insulin.
Thus, it is easy to see why Vitamin D is so important to the body and what can result if Vitamin D levels are not adequate. If you suspect that you are low in Vitamin D, a simple blood test can confirm this and you can then consult with your medical practitioner and come up with a game plan for getting your levels where they need to be.
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