Are you feeling tired and sluggish despite getting enough hours of sleep? Suffering from inflammation, joint pain and infection that won't go away? Diagnosed with low bone density despite taking your calcium pills? Feeling depressed? Unexplained elevated blood sugar? If you have any of the above symptoms, you could be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency. It is unthinkable that one single vitamin (a hormone to be exact) could potentially lead to so many different issues. I always educate the importance about this vital nutrient to my clients or participants when I do my Personal Coaching Singapore or conducting health talks.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It's estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood. Nearly 42% of American adults are deficient, 70% of Europeans have low and more than 50% Singaporean are lacking in this health-saving vitamin (and we are situated in a tropical country).
Main reasons for such prevalence could be due to a number of factors, including more time spent at home, in the office or the car, shorter days in winter, sunscreen use in summer and fears of skin cancer.
Main Functions of Vitamin D
Intestinal Absorption. Vitamin D enhances our absorption of calcium from the intestines
Maintaining Calcium & Phosphorus Levels. The body requires a certain level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. When levels drop off, Vitamin D kicks in and helps our body to keep things nice and stable.
Boosts Immunity. Vitamin D has several functions that support a healthy immune system.Enhance Brain Development & Mood. Low Vitamin D levels have been associated with mood disorders and depression.
Prevents Autoimmune Disorders. Some research has made a connection between multiple sclerosis and Vitamin D deficiency.Upkeep Bone Health. As Vitamin D helps to maintain calcium levels in the blood and enhance the absorption of dietary calcium, it’s very important for strong skeleton!
Cancer Prevention. Studies suggest that Vitamin D may help to prevent some forms of cancer (eg colorectal, breast cancers).
Hormonal balancing. Lack of Vitamin D can cause low estrogen in women, and low testosterone in men, both can have negative knock on effects to other health issues.
Regulates blood sugar. Vitamin D is believed to help improve the body's sensitivity to insulin – the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels – and thus reduce the risk of insulin resistance, which is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes. People who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have diabetes than obesity.
Lessens Cardiovascular Disease Risk. Studies show that less risk of cardiovascular disease and related cardiovascular complications with adequate vitamin D intake.
And a lot more..
How to increase Vitamin D
From vitamin-rich food:
Cod liver oil
food fortified with vitamin d (eg milk, orange juice, and cereal)
Unfortunately, it is not easy to get sufficient vitamin D from food source alone even if you eat them frequently. And if you do not take these foods for whatever reasons, it is almost certain you don't get sufficient vitamin D. So you need another source to supplement.
Safe Sunlight Exposure
It's not called sunshine vitamin for no reason.
Sunlight exposure upon bare skin is actually your body’s primary method of getting Vitamin D using ultraviolet (UV) rays absorbed by the skin. It doesn’t take long and you don’t need much - particularly in in tropical countries and in summer. Therefore you need to avoid excessive exposure in light of the risks of sunburn, particularly in countries where skin cancer risk is high.
Many studies also show that the body is most efficient at making vitamin D at noon. As a general guide, 12-20 minutes of midday sunlight exposure three times per week is enough to maintain healthy levels.Still finding hard to achieve the above two? The third alternative is through supplementation.
Take a Vitamin D3 supplement (cholecalciferol). It is preferred over other form of vitamin D, since D3 is used more effectively in the body.
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