WHAT IS VITAMIN D AND HOW DOES IT HELP OUR BODY?
Vitamin D (also called “calciferol”) is an essential element in the functioning of many systems in our body. Vitamin D is essential in bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. It also helps to reduce inflammation, maintain neuromuscular and immune function, and assists in glucose metabolism. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairments in older adults and severe asthma in children. Research suggests that vitamin D supplementation has been useful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.
VITAMIN D AND COVID-19
**In recent news, studies are showing a correlation between low vitamin D levels and COVID-19 infection. In a study performed by the University of Chicago, patients with untreated low vitamin D levels were TWICE AS LIKELY to test positive for COVID-19 compared to patients with sufficient levels of vitamin D. While this data is very new, it does help to show how important vitamin D can be in the health of our immune system.
NATURAL SOURCES OF VITAMIN D
You can obtain vitamin D in two ways. You can get Vitamin D from food, such as fortified cereals, milk, orange juice, egg yolk, mushrooms, ricotta cheese, and fatty fish. Exposure to UV rays from the sun alsocauses our body to convert cholesterol into vitamin D as well. However, 42% of Americans do not receive enough vitamin D to support their daily needs. Patients with milk allergies or who follow a vegan diet are especially at risk for low vitamin D levels. Also, patients who stay indoors most of the day may also be at risk for low vitamin D levels. Therefore, it is important to identify the signs of vitamin D deficiency and understand when to talk to your primary care provider.
SYMPTOMS OF LOW VITAMIN D
SYMPTOMS OF LOW VITAMIN D LEVLES:
- Getting sick or infected often
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Bone or back pain
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
- Irregular menstruation
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are concerned that you may be at risk for low vitamin D levels, speak with your primary care giver. The great news is that vitamin D deficiency is easy to diagnose and treat!
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