Most Americans are indeed vitamin D deficient. The causes are multifactorial and include various reasons.
4 Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
- Not enough direct sunlight. Even though the production of vitamin D is facilitated by sunlight on the skin, we are taught to stay out of the sun because the sun causes cancer.
- Our use of sunscreen. Massive amounts of sunscreen are worn to protect the potential damaging affects of the sun.
- The amount of time we spend indoors. More and more jobs are completed indoors versus outdoors as compared to years gone by.
- A lack of Vitamin K2 in our bodies. Vitamin K2 is necessary for proper absorption of vitamin D. Vitamin K2 is produced by gut bacteria. Since most Americans eat poorly, which results in an alteration of gut microbiome, vitamin D, even if supplemented, has difficulty in absorption.
How does vitamin D deficiency affect our health?
With this apparent deficiency nationwide in vitamin D, many Americans suffer with a variety of conditions. These include:
- problems with bone mineral metabolism
- increased risk of diabetes
- coronary artery disease
Additionally, low vitamin D3 was found to be a predictor of all cause mortality. Vitamin D3 also plays a role in moderating or preventing autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, type one diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin D has also been linked to hair loss. For more information on Vitamin D and hair loss, click here.
How to Increase Vitamin D Intake
Along with being in natural sunlight 15 to 20 minutes daily, there are natural food sources containing vitamin D. These include: cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, raw milk, caviar, eggs, and mushrooms to name a few.
Supplementing with vitamin D is often necessary and recommended.
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When looking for a supplement, there are a few key factors in which to look:
- First, look for a pharmaceutical grade formulation.
- Second, make sure the vitamin D3 has a companion of vitamin K2 included. As stated, this helps with absorption.
- Third, understand that Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient and should be taken with meals including fat.
One may think that vitamin D is only a vitamin. However it actually acts as a steroid hormone. When it is produced in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol, the structure of vitamin D is now closely allied to that of a classic steroid hormone in that it has the same ring structure.
Recommended Supplement: Vitamin D Supreme
Vitamin D Misconceptions
One of the biggest misconceptions is the old saying “milk does a body good.” Obviously, we know that milk does contain small amounts of vitamin D, but they are nowhere near sufficient considering America’s deficiency. Additionally, there are multiple negative factors potentially involved with the ingestion of dairy products.
Further, the recommended daily allowance of 800 international units per day is sorely inadequate. With vitamin D levels needing to run between 30 and 100 ng/dL in the blood, we have personally observed the great majority of our own patients routinely checking in at levels below 20 the first time it is tested.
Unfortunately, with levels this low, intense joint pain can occur along with brain dysfunction and lack of energy, none of which are pleasant experiences.