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Almost half of the US population is having Vitamin D deficiency, out of which 53% are women, 41 % are men and 61% are children.
Vitamin D helps your body to perform various functions. Most importantly it plays its part in maintaining strong bones by helping the body to absorb calcium. Your brain needs it to transmit messages to all parts of the body. It helps to maintain a strong immune system and gives your body the power to fight viruses and bacteria.
Why vitamin D is so essential? Scientist revealed that almost every other cell and tissue of our body consists of vitamin D receptor that tells the body that vitamin D is required. For this reason it is important to maintain a sufficient level of vitamin D.
This is how adequate levels of vitamin D can help you:
By maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D you can save yourself from cancer. The risk of breast cancer is reduced by 30 to 50% and the risk of colon cancer is reduced by 50%. Moreover, it also saves you from prostate and ovarian cancer. Vitamin D helps to stop the growth of malignant cells and kills them by cutting off their blood supply.
Prevent Heart Disease
Insufficient levels of vitamin D increase your risk of developing heart disease up to 80%. The higher the levels of vitamin D, the more protected you are against atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Vitamin D is also effective for preventing inflammation.
Protect against Parkinson’s
Sufficient levels of vitamin D may save you from Parkinson’s disease. It can help you by regulating your calcium levels, by enhancing the transmission of electricity to your neurons and by detoxifying your cells.
Saves you from Diabetes
Vitamin D is also responsible for stimulating the production of insulin. Researches prove that the risk of type 1 diabetes in children with vitamin D deficiency is more than 200%.
A chemical called serotonin is responsible for controlling our moods and emotions. Any imbalances in their levels can cause depression. Vitamin D affects the production of serotonin. Therefore, it is recommended to take adequate amounts of vitamin D to save yourself from depression.
Vitamin D is also found helpful in treating schizophrenia.
Relieve Chronic Pain
Low levels of vitamin D can cause headaches and migraines. A study conducted in 2008 revealed that 25% of the patients with chronic pain were vitamin D deficient. This is because lack of vitamin D does not allow the proper constriction and dilation of the blood vessels, which results in pain.
Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis
The major cause of osteoporosis is vitamin D deficiency. By maintaining your vitamin D levels you can reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Insufficient vitamin D levels put you at a risk of death. In fact the risk of death increases by 26%.
Now you must be wondering how to know your vitamin D levels and how to get rid of its deficiency? There are two things you can do; First get your vitamin D levels checked by a simple blood test. Second, if you are vitamin D deficient fix it with the help of some foods, supplements and sunlight.
How much vitamin D is required by your body is either determined by your age or by your body weight. The vitamin D council recommends 1000 IU’s per 25 lbs.
You can find vitamin D in foods like eggs, milk cheese, beef liver, salmon, mackerel, tuna, mushrooms and fortified orange juice and breakfast cereals.
You can also look for vitamin D supplements, but consult your doctor before taking them.
The best and most inexpensive source of vitamin D is your very own “sunlight”. Maximize your exposure to the sun to reap the benefits. The amount of sunlight required by your body to produce vitamin D varies according to your skin color and your geographical location. People with dark skin need more exposure to the sun than people with fair skin, almost 20 times more. Also people living away from the equator need exposure to the sun for longer periods than people living close to the equator to get a boost in their vitamin D levels.