What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a hormone that helps control calcium levels in your body. This is primarily responsible for helping intestines absorb calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc.
Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood. An estimated 40-75% of all adults are vitamin D deficient. This may be because vitamin D is only naturally present in a few foods. It is produced in the skin from exposure to ultraviolet B rays in sunlight.
Common Diseases Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency
People with vitamin D deficiency had a 32% increased risk of heart disease compared to those with normal levels. Vitamin D may improve immune function and control inflammation throughout the body, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Studies conducted in Europe and the United States have identified a link between low vitamin D levels and higher rates of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Based on this research, populations where natural sunlight exposure is limited tend to have higher rates of IBD, and vice versa
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
It is found that adults who deficient in vitamin D has a 53% increased risk of developing dementia, and those who deficient has a 125% increased risk of the disease compared to individuals with healthy levels. A deficiency in the nutrient was also associated with up to a 122% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
One study found that those who deficient in vitamin D have more than twice as likely to develop albuminuria (type of protein found in urine) over a period of five years. Albuminuria is an early indication of kidney damage as healthy kidneys capture protein for use in the body.
Vitamin D is also linked to osteoporosis. Vitamin D is help the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. These minerals keep our bones and teeth strong. Vitamin D deficiency, can lead to bone pain and osteoporosis, which is a weakening of the bones that makes them more likely to break.
One study also found that maintaining high vitamin D levels through sunlight exposure or supplementation can actually help reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes in general.
The most common sexual problem among men can be caused by other health conditions such as diabetes and prostate cancer, but a study published last year in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found men with severe cases of erectile dysfunction had much lower levels of vitamin D than those with mild cases.
How to Get More Vitamin D Naturally
Take a balanced approach to sun exposure
Never use a solarium to increase vitamin D
Eat foods rich in vitamin D
Regular exercise assists with production of vitamin D