A daily vitamin D supplement has become a modern-day necessity, where nearly half the world is unknowingly deficient in the sunshine vitamin.
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Muscle aches, recurring infections, sleeping problems, or constantly feeling “low” are just some of the subtle signs of a vitamin D deficiency. The “sunshine vitamin” is a special one — our bodies manufacture it under sunlight, yet nearly half the world’s population has insufficient vitamin D levels.
Our bodies make their own vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Your body has 7-dehydrocholesterol molecules that absorb the UV B radiation from sunlight — transforming into pre-vitamin D3, and eventually converted into its active form, vitamin D3.
Yes, but: Nearly 42 percent of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency. These rates were even greater in blacks (82 percent) and Hispanics (69 percent). Even subtropical regions in India report vitamin D insufficiency levels as high as 90 percent.
While getting some sunlight every day has benefits beyond getting vitamin D, dermatologists don’t want you spending hours under the sun.
The UV rays from the sun can cause sunburns, aging of the skin, and skin cancer. While wearing sunscreen every day can reduce your risk by up to 50 percent, some believe that it may affect your vitamin D levels.
The general consensus is to get a few minutes of morning sunlight, avoid UV radiation during peak hours, and wearing your sunscreen.
Foods like salmon, tuna, vitamin-D-fortified milk, and egg yolks also provide some amounts of vitamin D. However, this can be insignificant compared to recommended doses. This is where vitamin D supplements come in.
Taking vitamin D supplements is an efficient way of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels and even treating replete individuals.
While the cardiovascular and other health benefits of vitamin D supplementation are still unclear, it is still an essential element of good health.
Too much vitamin D, however, can cause nausea, vomiting, and calcium buildup — leading to bone pain or the formation of calcium stones in the kidneys.