Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is actually a hormone produced by the skin. It plays a part in bone health and can be a determinant factor in developing many diseases because of its role in inflammation. Vitamin D’s involvement in calcium and phosphorus uptake and absorption also make vitamin D a major component of nervous system functioning.
- Vitamin D deficiency is an unrecognized epidemic among both children and adults in the United States. Vitamin D deficiency not only causes rickets among children but also precipitates and exacerbates osteoporosis among adults and causes the painful bone disease osteomalacia. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risks of deadly cancers, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Sunlight and Vitamin D for Bone Health and Prevention of Autoimmune Diseases, Cancers, and Cardiovascular Disease” (2004)
What are the risk factors for vitamin D deficiency?
- Being African American or having darker skin tones
- Having a bowel disease like IBS or Crohn’s
- An Indoor lifestyle
- Being overweight
- Exposure to air pollution which blocks UVB rays
- Wearing sunscreen
- Being over 50 years old
- Having kidney or liver disease
Some symptoms of deficiency are bone aches and depression, especially during the winter. A diagnostic vitamin D test (Vit D 25 OH) can be ordered by your doctor.