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Vitamin D Provides A Critical Nutrient To Prevent Unexpected Death

Updated on January 28, 2015
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What is Vitamin D?

The human body needs to take in two types of vitamins each day to maintain good health. They are put into a couple different categories based on how they can be absorbed and whether or not the body is able to store them. Water-soluble nutrients can be dissolved in simple water and are flushed from the body if not used, while Fat-soluble nutrients must be absorbed through oils and can be stored in the human body.

Water-soluble vitamins are the B vitamins - folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12- along with vitamin C. These can be damaged or destroyed in cooking and any excesses in the body are removed through water, thus urination.

Fat-soluble vitamins are the vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are stored in fat cells in the body and consuming too much of these nutrients can be toxic. They cannot be removed through urination and must be metabolized out of the body by burning the fat cells. Transversely, deficiencies can be equally hazardous, even causing death over the long term.

What Might You Know About Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is not very well-known within the general population. At most, we associate this vitamin as being present in milk and we get it from sunshine. For the most part this fat-soluble nutrient is one of those things we think little of nor do we necessarily care if we are consuming enough of it.

This attitude and lack of knowledge can lead to some very detrimental side effects and could shorten your life span dramatically. The worst part of this whole scenario is that we would have no clue why we might be experiencing a life-threatening disease like heart failure. The outward causes are not obvious because the answer lies in the deficiency of a simple dietary supplement.

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A Medical Perspective

For those of us who may have a deeper knowledge or who may be better read about medicine, we may understand that vitamin D deficiency will lead to bone damage. In conjunction with monitoring calcium levels, we also understand the importance of keeping the skeletal system healthy. Vitamin D levels fall into one of three categories:

  1. Levels < or equal to 15 ng/ml (nanograms/milliliters).............. Deficient
  2. Levels ranging from 16-30 ng/ml............................................ Normal
  3. Levels greater than 30 ng/ml.................................................. Too High, Toxic

Vitamin D deficiency goes way beyond just bone health. Studies are very quickly beginning to prove that the following conditions are directly linked to this nutrient, and the lack thereof:

  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • mellitus
  • left venticular hypertrophy
  • obesity
  • heart failure
  • coronary heart disease
  • renal (kidney) disease
  • mortality or death

Furthermore, there are more current studies being performed to determine if the following conditions could be directly caused by vitamin D deficiency as well:

  • fractures
  • pulmonary embolism
  • depression
  • skeletal disorder
  • hyperthyroidism
  • infections requiring hospitalization
  • headaches

Finding the Alternative

Our diets in many ways may be a strong contributing factor to vitamin D deficiency. Eating salmon, leafy greens like spinach and kale, mushrooms, soy beans, and milk may not be a part of our daily diets and so finding another source is necessary.

One of the best ways to do this is through sunlight absorption. The following video will give you an idea of how you may want to approach this issue.

In the News

How Life Has Changed

One of the main ideas of the video points out the fact that we need to have about an hour of sunlight each week. By doing so we will have acquired enough vitamin D to keep us from deficient levels. Normally we might think that sunlight exposure shouldn't be a problem, however, if two-thirds of the population is deficient, what more should we consider?

Perhaps a combination of inactive lifestyles and the absorption into our technology may provide the answer. If you think about it, spending time outdoors requires some sort of effort in the realm of exercise. If folks are choosing to avoid this fact of healthy life, then they will be more apt to sit in their living room, or wherever they like to hang out, and either play on their computers or soak up some artificial rays from their Ipad.


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Heading to the Gym

Yes, there are a large percentage of Americans who do exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but how many are walking, lifting weights or jogging outside? Gyms like Club Fitness, Gold's Gym, and Planet Fitness are drawing large crowds with their no pressure environments and extremely inexpensive prices. The problem in regards to vitamin D deficiency is that you are exercising under fluorescent bulbs. No nutrient benefit is derived from the artificial lighting. How many people that you see working out in these places are aware of this fact? I'm going to wager absolutely no one.

My Wife's Pulmonary Embolism

A few months ago my wife began having some heart issues where it would, on a daily basis, flip flop around in her chest. She would also get light-headed spells and her heartbeat would race for a few seconds and then resume its normal pace. This racing was happening more and more often and it was becoming quite concerning. Add in some headaches, sharp pains felt in her chest, back, and legs and the feeling of having no energy. All of these symptoms, we now know in hindsight, were "red flags" of a pulmonary embolism. What exactly is this conditon?

A Visual Description

Life After Embolism On Blood Thinners

Doctors have put my wife on Xarelto and, after some acclimation, she is now stable and has only had minor symptoms. Things to watch:

  • Xarelto can be dangerous with possible gum, brain or internal bleeding. If you ever should be prescribed this drug, please monitor yourself closely.
  • Get plenty of sleep while on this medication, at least 7-8 hours a night.
  • Feeling light-headed or "off" will be the symptoms of sleep deprivation along with an inability to concentrate.
  • Sometimes you may experience dyslexia, where your words are jumbled a bit. This is what we call "Xarelto brain". An example is - bubber rands. (rubber bands)


Despite some of these crazy side effects, my wife and I are obviously very thankful that she is still alive. Some folks do not survive a pulmonary embolism.


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Research and Personal Experience

As was stated earlier, research and studies are being performed to ascertain vitamin D's role in pulmonary embolisms. Three months after my wife was placed on Xarelto, the doctor began prescribing a 50,000 unit dose of a vitamin D supplement once a week.

The reason for this, we believe, runs twofold. (Her blood work showed her to have extremely low levels at <15 ng/ml.):

  • She has acquired a genetic disorder from her mother than keeps her blood levels of vitamin D very low. Supplements are the answer.
  • Such a deficiency, as is seen in 2/3 of the American population, is a strong contributor not only to pulmonary embolisms, but any condition of the heart - be it heart failure, coronary heart disease or left ventricular hypertrophy. Again, the solution is a supplement.

Almost immediately, and since she started this regimen, the heart flip flop symptoms have almost completely stopped. Taking a vitamin D supplement has made a marked difference in my wife's heart health and in her recovery from the pulmonary embolism.

So...it is very important that you get your vitamin D levels checked and spend as much time as you can in the sunshine. Try also to eat foods rich in this vitamin to accommodate any deficiencies and to prevent a side effect from which you cannot recover - unexpected death.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Did you know the possible side effects of vitamin D deficiency?

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Works Cited

Anderson, Jeffrey L., et. al. "Relation of Vitamin D Deficiency to Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Disease Status, and Incident Events in a General Healthcare Population". The American Journal of Cardiology. 2010 www.ajconline.org. pp. 963-8.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09315.html

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    • Sara Sarwar Riaz profile image

      Sara Sarwar Riaz 3 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I am glad to learn that your wife was diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. I am a physician, and my specialities are hematology and oncology (blood and cancer). I would therefore like to add a few pertinent points to the discussion.

      Even though there is emerging evidence that Vit D deficiency can promote thrombosis in predisposed individuals via various mechanisms that are still being studied, it is unlikely to be the sole factor leading to such massive thrombotic events. If there were no identifiable risk factors in your wife's situation, as recent travel, surgery, known thrombotic condition etc, she should be worked up further upon completion of her prescribed duration of anti-coagulation with Xarelto. The hematologist overlooking her case would be able to advise accordingly.

      Vitamin D deficiency is also being associated with development of cancers as malignancies also occur due to aberrations in our immune system, and Vit D plays a role in regulating our immune systems in general. There is more and more evidence emerging to support this. Another reason to be vigilant and monitor our Vit D levels.

      Thank you for looking into this subject and sharing some very important information.

    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 3 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Great information! Thanks.

      Everybody needs to know about D-3, and get enough sun, especially people with darker skin.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Actually no I did not know about the benefits of Vitamin D to the textent that you shared.

      I did know some of its benefits but certainly not to the extent you shared so I appreciate that you shared.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning. ps

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This is very good information, which has the potential to help someone else. I'm so happy to hear your wife is doing better. Voted up and shared.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very comprehensive advice contained in this hub yohewriter. I knew of benefits of vitamin D and some of the effects of deficiency but I didn't know it could lead to unexpected death and pulmonary embolism. Fortunately our diet includes leafy greens, mushrooms, milk and fish etc...(and we grow most of our own greens). I'd also probably spend an average of an hour a day outside.

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 3 years ago

      Fortunately, foods mentioned—salmon, greens, mushrooms, soy beans, and milk a big part of my diet, and have been for a very long time. Close to being a vegetarian with little meat in my diet, so need to supplement with alternatives to add needed protein and calcium. With a history of Grave's Disease and A-fib, diet is an important factor to maintaining good health. Very good article, and well worth anyone reading.

    • yohewriter profile image
      Author

      Timothy Yohe 3 years ago from St. Louis

      Thank you for the vote up Fire8storm! It has been an interesting past 8 months in learning about medical conditions I had no clue even existed and the surprising reasons behind them. They have been important enough that I really wanted to share them with others. Thank you for your comment!

    • profile image

      Fire8storm 3 years ago

      This is a very interesting, informative and rather surprising Hub! I was vaguely aware of Vitamin D deficiency but had no idea just how dangerous it could be or its relationship to pulmonary embolisms. Thank you for such an informative article, I have definitely learnt from this. Voted up and shared.

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