Vitamin D Deficiency
I live in Florida; how could I have a Vitamin D deficiency? Good question, it is possible and probable in some people.
Vitamin D deficiency is precisely what is says. You do not have enough vitamin D in your body. Your skin produces Vitamin D by using sunlight. Fair-skinned individuals and those who are younger convert sunshine into vitamin D far better than those who are darker-skinned and over age 50.
Why is Vitamin D important?
Vitamin D helps keep bones strong. Having healthy bones protects you from various conditions, including rickets. Rickets is a disorder that causes children to have bones that are weak and soft. Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build strong bones. In adults, having soft bones is a condition called osteomalacia.
What are the health effects of vitamin D deficiency?
Getting enough vitamin D may also help keep you healthy by protecting against the following conditions and possibly helping to treat them. These conditions can include:
- Heart disease and high blood pressure
- Infections and immune system disorders
- Falls or bone breaks in older people
- Certain types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and breast cancers
- Multiple sclerosis
What are the sources of vitamin D?
You get vitamin D in other ways than the sun. These can include:
- Sun exposure. About 15-20 minutes, three times per week, depending on where you live, is usually sufficient.
- Nutritional supplements
Where does sunlight come in?
There are health benefits of sunlight. Vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to sunshine, the ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation that the sun emits. The amount of vitamin D that your skin makes can depend on:
- The season: This depends a bit on where you live. In colder climates, the UV-B light does not reach the earth for six months out of the year due to winter months not producing the UV rays that the summer months do.
- The time of day: The sun’s rays are most powerful between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Where you live: Places closer to the equator have higher ultraviolet (UV) light levels. The UV-B light in sunlight causes your skin to make vitamin D. If you live in a higher populated area, pollution and smog may also limit the Vitamin D you can get from the sun.
- The melanin content of your skin: Melanin is a brown-black pigment in the eyes, hair, and skin. Melanin causes the skin to tan. If you tan easily or have darker skin, you need more sun exposure to get sufficient vitamin D from the sun.
How does diet help your vitamin D levels?
Vitamin D only occurs naturally in a few foods. That’s why certain foods have added vitamin D; they are fortified with vitamin D. On newer food nutrition labels you can see the amount of vitamin D in a particular food item.
Foods that provide vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Foods fortified with vitamin D include dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and some fortified cereals.
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
To get vitamin D from food, fish is a great option. Three ounces of cooked salmon can get you the daily recommended dosage of Vitamin D.
What is the recommended daily dosage? You can learn more here for your age group.
The information in our blog is not intended to be used as medical advice. Please contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment or have questions. 386•761•0520