Why Low Vitamin D Levels are Bad for You

November 12, 2012

Why Low Vitamin D Levels are Bad for You

Vitamin D is an important vitamin for the human body. It performs several functions, but most importantly vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. It also helps the body regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the blood. When people are suffering from low vitamin D levels or from vitamin D deficiency, the body is so starved for calcium and phosphorous that it strips these chemicals from your skeleton. The good news is that your body only needs a little bit of vitamin D per day. You get if from certain foods like eggs, beef liver, milk and fatty fish such as tuna, swordfish or salmon. Your body is also able to produce vitamin D is you are exposed to direct sunlight for as little as 15 minutes three times a week for fair skinned people and 20 to 30 minutes each time for darker skinned people. It has to be direct sunlight and not sunlight filtered through a window. Symptoms of Low Vitamin D Early symptoms of low vitamin D levels include chronic aches and pains in the muscles, bones, headaches, feeling tired all of the time and sudden depression (not related to the mental illness depression.) If these symptoms are ignored, they symptoms degenerate into soft and easily broken bones. Adults are at risk of developing osteomalacia, diabetes Type 2 and high blood pressure. Anyone with high blood pressure is at risk for developing potentially deadly heart disease.

Children or babies with low vitamin D levels develop a disease commonly called rickets. This is a painful bone disease where bones easily break, the skull remains soft and bones grow deformed. Children may also suffer chronic tooth problems, such as premature tooth loss. People with low vitamin D levels may put themselves at risk for developing certain types of cancers such as prostate, breast and colon cancers.

Who Is Most At Risk

People who are most at risk of experiencing low vitamin D levels are newborns fed only breast milk, people who go on extreme diets, vegans that do not take supplemental vitamin D and people suffering from an inability to metabolize fats. Human breast milk does not contain enough vitamin D to support a baby’s growing skeleton, so mothers of newborns need to supplement their breast milk with vitamin D fortified formula.

People who fast, who recently underwent gastric bypass surgery or go on extreme liquid-only diets are prone to suffering from low vitamin D levels. This is because their diets prevent them from consuming any food sources of vitamin D. They can also suffer from other serious health problems such as fainting, chronic nausea and bad headaches. Vegans can still stay on their cruelty-free diets as long as they eat foods fortified with vitamin D or take a supplement approved by their doctors.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it needs to be mixed with fatty substances in order for the body to absorb it. People suffering from digestive ailments such as liver disease, Crohn’s disease or cystic fibrosis, cannot absorb fat properly and in turn cannot absorb vitamin D.

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