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Vitamin D3 Deficiency is Worldwide

Updated on September 11, 2014

Vitamin D3 Deficiency is on the Rise

Vitamin D3 is important to our health. Vitamin D3 comes from the sun or supplements. The world is experiencing more and more health issues. The lack of vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol in our systems robs us of our immune system.

As we have become "wiser" about the sun, we have learned to avoid it for fear of skin cancer. We have sun screen and sun block lotions and sprays we apply to protect us from the sun's harmful rays, but at the same time we cut off the sun's beneficial vitamin D3. Being in the sun and using moderate common sense will help us avoid skin cancer and help us get the added vitamin D3 our bodies are craving.

Vitamin D3 deficiency has so many harmful effects. A closer look should be taken at how to stop this epidemic.

Is Worldwide Vitamin D Deficiency Going Too Far?

Vitamin D3 deficiency is a worldwide problem. This seems like an extreme statement, but how much sun do we get today? Through the mid 1980's people did not think too much about sunscreen and sunblock. Then the dreaded mention of melanoma, or skin cancer, put the fear of the sun into many of us. We slathered on sunscreen and sunblock hoping to avoid such a tragedy, which any form of cancer can be.

Also, many started looking at their aging skin, especially women. I know I started paying more attention in the 90's. Dry skin, wrinkles, freckles, and big age spots were a worst nightmare - again with the dramatics. I had already jumped on that bandwagon to protect my kids from the harsh rays of the sun when all the reports were coming out about sun damage and the devastating effects the sun could cause. These effects that may not show up for years. They never went without their 45 sunblock, but I still went into the sun unprotected. Not very wise, but I wanted that tan. Do you know anyone like that?

Vitamin D3 Deficiency Gets Real

Not only did we protect ourselves with sunscreens and sunblock, but we started spending more time inside. How many of us work inside? Most of us. Plus, those who live in the very northern or southern regions of our two hemispheres receive even less sun than those of us who live midway or closer to the Equator. No sun, less vitamin D3, and the problems started showing up.

Vitamin D3 softgels absorb quickly into your system

Vitamin D3 softgels absorb quickly into your system
Vitamin D3 softgels absorb quickly into your system

Symptoms of Vitamin D3 Deficiency

A friend of mine was not feeling well. Her doctor was concerned she had multiple sclerosis. She ached all over in her joints, bones, and muscles. She was tired all the time. She owns her own spa and worked all the time. I told her maybe she was just overworked, which we are sure was part of it. Then I began to notice it was dark in her spa. Everything was in a soft low light. She spent most of the day time in the spa.

Eventually, the doctors had run all kinds of tests and found nothing until they did more blood work. They found she had a major vitamin D3 deficiency. Her doctor put her on 50,000 IU prescription strength vitamin D3 for a couple of weeks. She began to feel better. All her symptoms are consistent with vitamin D3 deficiency, and once her D3 levels rose, her physical health began to improve.

Being in a the semi-dark, soft glow of her spa that made her customers feel so relaxed and good had taken its toll on her. The lack of sunshine had zapped her of her strength and made her feel terrible. It is no wonder that those who live farthest away from the Equator have health issues, such as depression, higher risks of multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

Without the aid of vitamin D3, our immune systems plummet, and our bodies are not able to fight off minor physical conditions that can turn into major physical conditions that are life-threatening. The more we find out about vitamin D3 and the need for it, the more we are able to see the benefits of either the sun or maintaining vitamin D3 levels through a little sun, supplements, and/or diet.

Yet, a person may not experience any symptoms or if the symptoms are not obvious, the person may not recognize them. At first, my friend's doctors did not recognize the symptoms, and she was living in fear of having a life threatening, debilitating disease.

Not recognizing the vitamin D3 deficiency is the scary part. We should all be concerned about vitamin D3 deficiency and should inquire or do some research on it in order to protect ourselves.

Who is Most Likely to Have a Vitamin D3 Deficiency?

As mentioned earlier, those who live farthest away from the Equator and receive less sun are at risk of being deficient in vitamin D3, such as Canada and Alaska.

The elderly who are unable to get out like they did when they were younger. This may also contribute to depression. Also, as we grow older, our kidneys are not able to convert vitamin D3 into its active form. I did not know about vitamin D3 deficiency when my Mother was living. I see now that her depressions and kidney problems could have been caused by a vitamin D3 deficiency. I wish I had known about the research that has come out before her death in January of 2010.

Just like my mother who stayed inside too much, young children are at risk because they either stay inside too much or are lathered with sunblock each time they do go outside. This could be the case with adults, too. I know from the time my children were tiny until they were in their teens, I constantly preached "sunblock, sunblock, sunblock." They had no choice when they were little, but as they grew and worried about self-image, I saw them getting out the baby oil or the dark tanning number 4 sunscreen. By this time, I wasn't with them all the time, and they did what they wanted. Because of their "training" from a young age, they did put sunblock on after being in the sun for an extended amount of time.

Those who have a dark complexion, such as African-Americans, American Indians, or Mediterranean. The darker pigment in the skin reduces the skin's ability to absorb vitamin D3. My husband is Italian on one side and American Indian on the other side. He is very dark. He loves being outside. I have always worried about the sun's effects on him because he has refused to wear sunscreen or sunblock. As we have aged, he finally will put on sunblock after he has been in the sun for a while. For me, a very fair skinned person, I would be burned to a crisp if I were in the sun as long as he is. He has never had any issues with vitamin D3 deficiency that we know of. I can see if he were in the sun on and off that he might show some signs, but he seems to get the right amount of sun.

If you are obese, you are at risk of having a vitamin D3 deficiency. Fat cells take the vitamin D3 and stop its circulation through the blood. Vitamin D3 deficiency is only one of the health issues connected to obesity.

If you are a vegetarian, you may be depriving your body of vitamin D and D3. Most vitamin D in our foods is animal-based. Eating a strictly vegetarian diet eliminates these vitamin D sources. If you compound that with not getting the D3 from the sun or foods, a deficiency is going to occur.

How Does Vitamin D3 Help Us?

As alluded to above, vitamin D3 helps maintain healthy bone, joint, and muscle health. In turn cutting down on the possibilities of osteoporosis, MS, and many other debilitating diseases.

Vitamin D3 helps to regulate the immune system so we can fight of bacteria and viruses, such as the common cold and sore throat.

The one benefit I like the most because I have not had much experience with the extreme effects for lack of vitamin D3 except this one: memory and concentration. Vitamin D3 helps your brain function better. I am close to 50 and have noticed my brain is not the sponge it once was. I began taking vitamin D3 supplements and including it in my diet, and I can see a difference in my memory and ability to concentrate.

As I said above, I am nearing 50 (I am 47). I have a bit of arthritis in my back, and while it does not completely go away, it does feel better when I take my vitamin D3 and or am in the sun.

Vitamin D3 has also been connected to slowing cancer cells down. That is a wonderful medical breakthrough if that can be proven. It is worth some research to find out more about the connection of vitamin D3 and prevention of or slowing down cancer.

There are so many benefits to taking vitamin D3 supplements. Not only are you replacing the vitamin D3 that the sun gives you, but you are helping such issues as depression, heart risks, improved skin health, improved muscle and bone health, and warding off some diseases including cancer and diabetes.

All of us should consult a physician to see if we are deficient in vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is a vital part to good health, but we should make sure it does not interfere with any medications or cause additional problems if we have other health problems.

How Can We Get More Vitamin D3?

Some doctors may argue, but 10 - 15 minutes sitting in the sun, allowing our face, chest, and arms to absorb vitamin D3 would be helpful to our body's immune system. Be sure to time how long you are in the sun and if you plan to stay in the sun, do apply sunblock after getting a "dose" of the sun's vitamin D3.

Some controversial doctors have stated that lying in a tanning bed for 5 minutes will help activate vitamin D3. Doing so during the cooler months or when the sun is lower on the horizon could help you feel better. I always did wonder why Todd and Sarah Palin had such a nice looking tans while living in Alaska. A tanning bed, of course.

We must eat the few foods that are rich in vitamin D3, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. If you have heart problems, please check with your doctor before adding anything to your diet.

Take vitamin D3 supplements, either vitamin D3 or in Omega-rich fish oils.

Disclaimer:

SusanHolland10 is not a physician. Before taking any measures to help a vitamin D3 deficiency, consult a physician, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Since vitamin D helps increase our calcium if you are prone to kidney stones, you will definitely want to consult a physician.

Vitamin D3 at 5000 IU Improves Immune System and Bone Health - Dr. Angela Agrios, ND

Do you get enough Vitamin D3 from the sun or do you need a supplement like I do?

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    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @Lynda Makara: I hope some people get to see it if they don't understand vitamin D deficiency. I am glad you take a supplement. It has been one of those winters for me.

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 4 years ago from California

      This is good information for everyone. I take a supplement to make sure I'm protected.

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @BLouw: Thanks so much! I am sure it would be a problem for women in burkas. I did not know children received shots at the of winter in France. Interesting. I think if we use our common sense with the sun, as you mention, we should be all right. I still take a supplement every day during autumn and winter.

      Thanks so much for dropping by!! :-)

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

      Excellent lens. My husband is Turkish and vitamin D deficiency is a big problem for women there, and here in France they give children vitamin D injections at the end of winter. Over exposure to sunshine is bad but we should make sure that at least some skin is exposed for a short time, not at the sun's highest point, every day. I'm a great believer in sending children out to play and I do try to go out for walks daily although exposing flesh to sun in winter in Limousin is not so easy!

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @Normyo Yonormyo: Yes, you are correct. We do need 10 - 15 minutes of sun on unprotected skin each day. I am sure the ultra-violet rays on a cloudy day provide the same too, just need a longer period of time. :-)

      My friend is so much better now that she knows it was a vitamin D problem. She takes her daily dose of sun and/or supplement. It is amazing how important it is to our bodies.

      I don't know how animals in the farthest Northern or Southern hemispheres would survive... I guess, since they do, it may not be an issue. Great question, though! I just don't know. LOL Thanks so much for dropping by! :-)

    • Normyo Yonormyo profile image

      Normyo Yonormyo 4 years ago

      Great lens, I also heard that you need about 15 minutes of sun on unprotected skin to get enough vitamin D for one day. Which of course is rather difficult on days that the sun is nowhere to be seen. But keeping in mind that it is not the light of the sun but its ultraviolet rays we need for vitamin D, and these rays do get through the clouds. So on a cloudy day we probably need 30 minutes of outside time. For your friend with her spa, this would mean getting a walk during her break.

      I do wonder how animals like sea lions and other animals Inuit hunt get to make enough vitamin D so Inuit get enough vitamin D to survive the long dark artic winter while eating the meat of their prey?

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 4 years ago

      I need to spend a bit more time in the sun. I took D3 supplements for a long time, but fell out of the habit. I should start again!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Useful lense, thanks for sharing, the person who works in the office room rarely put hiimself in the sun, and the person who lacks the vitamin D3 is nomal now.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      I sit in the sun for a few minutes in the summer without sunscreen, but we have had some very dismal summers recently in the UK, some sunny days but not enough. Turns out I'm deficient in vitamin D too. The doc gave me a strong supplement and I now take a smaller supplement to keep me topped up. Which reminds me, I must go and take one.

    • Carpenter76 profile image

      Carpenter76 4 years ago

      Nice and very pleasant to read lens! Now I understand why I need the sun so much... Really bad, I need that tan as well (you're not alone lol)

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @Carpenter76: LOL I know! I love being in the sun but I am so fair, I have to be careful. :-) Thanks for dropping by!

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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @leilasi: Great ways to keep up your D3 levels! :-)

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @sikiriki: Those are great ways to get D3! :-)

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @Gypzeerose: Thank you, BloomingRose! I feel so much better on long, cloudy winter days when I take my D3. Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      D3 is really important - thanks for reminding me to supplement.

    • sikiriki profile image

      sikiriki 4 years ago

      I like sun and milk i drink everyday.

    • leilasi profile image

      Leila 4 years ago from Belgium

      I'm vegetarian as well and take as much sun as I can in the summer; the rest of the year is rather cool but the summers here have been reaching 35 to 40C in these last few years. My D3 levels are doing ok so far. I do eat milk and eggs.

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @BritFlorida: You lucky girl! I bet that Florida sun helps keep the aches and pains away. Yeah, I have been a sun worshiper most of my life. I can connect the dots. LOL I keep lots of facial creams around with sunscreen in them. That seems to help. Thanks so much for dropping by! :-)

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      That's very interesting information. I am vegetarian but live in Florida so get plenty of sun. I'm a good ten yeas older than you but have no aches and pains at all. But the sun has created many a wrinkle!.

    • susanholland10 profile image
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      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      @Michey LM: Thank you for your comment, Michey. I hope more people start taking it seriously. The flu has been rampant this year, and I think taking vitamin D3 has really helped me.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      I know it is a problem, and I wander how many people really take it seriously. Very useful lens Thanks