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5 Serious Health Risks Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency

Updated on July 19, 2013

You Need Sun to Prevent Skin Cancer

You Need Sun to Prevent Skin Cancer
You Need Sun to Prevent Skin Cancer

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5 Serious Health Risks Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world yet it often goes undiagnosed and untreated. This can have devastating consequences for your health. Without adequate levels of vitamin D, your immune system cannot function properly, which leaves you open to developing a variety of serious diseases.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can often be difficulty to pin down because the symptoms can be so varied. If you’ve been struggling with mystery symptoms you can’t explain, it could be related to this common vitamin deficiency.

Symptoms include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • Bladder problems

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?

The primary cause of vitamin D deficiency is lack of exposure to sunlight. We live in a modern society where most of us spend most of our time indoors. We go from our home to the car to work to the car to back home again; never taking in the sun’s healing rays.

Other causes of vitamin D deficiency include malabsorption of nutrients due to undiagnosed Celiac disease, obesity, thyroid dysfunction, and chronic kidney disease.

5 Health Dangers Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency

Melanoma

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and it’s on the rise. You may believe the more sunscreen you use, the better protected you are from developing this skin cancer but studies have shown the exact opposite is true. Vitamin D deficiency has been directly linked to the development of melanoma. Though sun exposure that leads to sunburn can cause skin cancer, clinical reports have shown that regular, everyday exposure does not increase your risk.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia and other mental health disorders have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. A study published in The Scientific American showed that those born in the winter months have a greater risk for developing schizophrenia and depression. These mental health disorders have been specifically linked to vitamin D deficiency in the mother.

Osteoporosis

When it comes to preventing osteoporosis, calcium is only part of the equation. Without adequate levels of vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium from food. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow was diagnosed with osteopenia, a pre-cursor to osteoporosis, and was told she had the lowest level of vitamin D her doctor had ever seen.

Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be a clear marker for poor health overall. Those with vitamin D deficiency are at greatly increased risk for hypertension, heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.

Type I Diabetes

Vitamin D deficiency is directly linked to poor immune system function, which leaves children at risk for developing type I diabetes.

Diagnosing and Treating Vitamin D Deficiency

The best way to tell if vitamin D deficiency is contributing to your mystery symptoms is to get a serum blood test. You can go to your doctor to get a blood draw or purchase a home testing kit for yourself. Alternatively, a vitamin D blood test can be obtained from a wholesale distributor such as Direct Labs and taken to a designated drawing station for results in 7-10 days.

If you receive a diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency, your doctor may suggest you start taking a supplement. Most conventional physicians will advise 400 IUs per day or less. However, those with severe vitamin D deficiency or a history of any of the above-mentioned diseases; should use a much higher dose. For my patients, I recommend a dosage of 5,000 IUs per day.

To stave off the health risks of vitamin D deficiency, get your levels checked. Adding a high-quality supplement and getting at least fifteen minutes of unprotected sun exposure each day can do wonders to improve your health and keep serious disease at bay.

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