Vitamin D is manufactured by our skin in the presence of sunlight. We can also obtain it from some foods such as fortified dairy products and oily fish. Since many of us no longer spend time in the sun without sunscreen, and some of us do not consume enough dairy products, we are now vitamin D deficient. When my doctor informed me that my blood levels were very low, I was surprised. Knowing nothing about vitamin D deficiency, I asked about symptoms and was stunned at how many there were. Vitamin D deficiency can cause several problems, some minor and some very severe.
Many Vague and Common Symptoms: My doctor told me that many of my symptoms, now attributed to fibromyalgia, might very well improve with sufficient vitamin D. Weight gain, aching muscles, inability to sleep through the night and the resulting fatigue might be a result of vitamin D deficiency. She did tell me that it would not cure old age. Darn.
Impaired Calcium Absorption: Without sufficient vitamin D, our bodies cannot absorb enough calcium to protect or build our bones, no matter how many calcium pills we take. This deficiency may lead to symptoms of osteoporosis in older people, including muscle and bone pain. It also may explain my several broken bones in recent years, in spite of all the calcium I have consumed.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder): SAD is very common in the northern states. Lack of sunlight during the winter has long been recognized as the cause. However, many patients are treated for symptoms of depression, when they might improve substantially with Vitamin D.
Disease Prevention: According to “Natural News”, many very serious diseases can be prevented by sufficient vitamin D. In recent years, we have prevented rickets in children by adding fortified milk and supplements. I was not aware that the vitamin could also help prevent prostate, breast, ovarian and colon cancer. Depression and schizophrenia have also been found to respond to Vitamin D. In many countries they treat psoriasis successfully with vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D deficiency has also been found to be a factor in type two diabetes.
Alzheimer’s Disease Research: On July 16th“Science Daily” reported early research finding that Vitamin D with other substances might offer new treatments for Alzheimer’s patients. This is still early laboratory research but more studies are planned.
Vitamin D is necessary for good health and a deficiency can be very serious. However, your doctor can find out your levels from a simple blood test. No one should take excess vitamin D without checking first with a doctor. Some conditions and drug interactions can become dangerous with excess vitamin D. Since I know my levels are low, I now follow my doctor’s advice and take a supplement every day. Although it won’t cure old age, maybe it will make me feel younger.