It is called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Natural D vitamin is created in your skin with the help of sunlight. Ironically, most Indians lack in serum vitamin D because of diet, lack of exercise and a tendency to avoid the sunshine. Globally, about 50% of people have Vitamin D deficiency.
What do medical experts think?
Doctors always say that the human body and mind are both reliant on the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D helps:
- Maintain healthy teeth and bones.
- Support a healthy brain, nervous and immune system.
- Regulate insulin levels and controls diabetes.
- Maintain a healthy heart and lungs.
If you want to be sure, ask your doctor if you need to be tested for vitamin D. A simple blood test can tell you if you are deficient or not. You may need to take a boost of D3 vitamins.
Nowadays, the best way to test is:
Getting a DEXA scan. They are very accurate in determining your bone health.
To get you started, try answering our vitamin D deficiency FAQs below:
Q1: Have general body aches and pains?
Women over 30 are the most vitamin D-deficient group. And the most common yet subtle first signs are unexplained body aches. Osteomalacia is a condition of general aches and pains felt in your bones. If you are an older woman who gets aching bones and muscle twitches for no apparent reason, you may be D-deficient.
Q2: Do you sweat excessively?
Is your normal body temperature close to 98.6 F? You may be in good health, generally, but you find that you sweat a lot with no increase in activity. It could be because you have a D shortage.
Q3: Have weakened muscle strength?
Strong muscles are not just about pumping iron, but more about being strong in every fibre of your being. Studies show that older people (above 60) with higher vitamin D serum levels experience 20% fewer falls. The reason is Vitamin D is closely linked to improved muscle strength.
Q4: Are your bones weak?
Rickets, the weak bones disease was mostly eradicated in 1930. Still, most adults after the age of 30 lack the vitamin and subsequently D-dependent calcium. So, post 30, the risk of getting osteoporosis and bone joint issues also speed up. Make sure your bones remain strong as you age. Be less prone to having bone fractures by preventing D deficiency (see below). Also, do regular weight-bearing exercises like brisk walking.
Q5: Feeling down in the dumps?
Doctors believe that people living in cooler climates ‘go down in the dumps’ for a scientific reason. In winter when there is little sunshine, our D levels drop and you start to feel low. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and even autism. Dr Mark Hyman authored the amazing book, ‘The Ultramind Solution’. He writes about how to enhance your brain by healing your body. Experts like him think we should get 5,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily, even when officially the recommended amount be 600 IU.
If you answered “yes” to more than one of the following questions, it may be due to symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency.
How to deal with vitamin D deficiency
It is virtually impossible for humans to meet the body’s daily vitamin D needs through diet alone.
It is best to fight D-deficiency using a 4-pronged attack, as follows:
Go outside more. Sunshine absorbed through your skin makes D naturally.
Eat right by focussing on a well-balanced diet that is rich in calcium and magnesium, plus vitamin D foods.
Exercise regularly. For strong bones and muscles, join a gym, do weight-bearing workouts like walking and running.
Support your daily calcium intake with Vitamin D3 pills.
As with any health problem caused by a vitamin D deficiency, besides sunlight and food, a quick alternative is taking D3 vitamins – preferably ones that come with a dose of calcium and magnesium.