Most people have heard that having a vitamin D deficiency is bad. But, do you know what the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are or how a deficiency in vitamin D can happen? A vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. It can cause depression and cognitive impairment. To prevent these problems, it's a good idea to take a supplement.
All forms of vitamin D, including D3, are important to the body. Some people are at higher risk of having a vitamin D deficiency than others. You may be in a high risk group and not know it. Here are 5 groups that are at high risk of becoming deficient in vitamin D.
Celiac & Other Intestinal Diseases:
People who suffer from celiac disease or other diseases that involve the intestines often suffer from vitamin deficiency. Medical conditions of the gut cause malabsorption in the intestine. The intestine's job is to take vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the foods we digest. However, when the intestine doesn't perform this function properly, it can lead to other significant health problems, including vitamin deficiency.
Also, many supplements contain gluten, which is to be avoided by this group at all costs. If you are in this group, use natural health care supplements because most do not contain gluten.
If you live a vegan lifestyle, chances are you are not getting the appropriate vitamins you need, especially forms of vitamin D, because most vitamin D in foods and supplements is not vegan-friendly.
Most supplements use fish oil or sheep lanolin as the source of vitamin D, neither of which is ideal for you if you are vegan. You'll want to look for vitamin supplements labeled as being made for vegans. Generally, vegan vitamin d3 supplements are made from natural sources such as mushrooms.
People who have a severe milk allergy and those who are lactose intolerant tend to be deficient in calcium. Many people in this group take a calcium supplement to make up for not being able to consume milk and other dairy products. However, your body cannot use calcium if your body is deficient in vitamin D. According to WebMD, your body must have vitamin D in order to absorb calcium.
Limited Sun Exposure:
The most natural way to get vitamin D is by spending time in the sun. However, you put yourself at risk of developing a sunburn or—worse—skin cancer. Many people avoid the sun because they feel these risks are too great. Fortunately, a daily dose of vitamin D3 supplements can help you avoid exposure to the sun. This is particularly important for those with a medical history of skin cancer.
Melanin is the pigment in your skin that gives it color. The more melanin there is, the darker your skin color is. An abundant amount of melanin can block the skin's ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight. If you fall into this category, you would need to expose yourself to the sun for long periods of time to find the benefit. An alternative is to take vitamin D supplements.
If you fall in one or more of those categories, you may be deficient in vitamin D. To find out for sure, you can go to your physician and have a blood test done to look for 25-hydroxy vitamin D. The results will show how much vitamin D is in your blood. The physician can then prescribe a high dose of vitamin D, or direct you to obtain an over-the-counter supplement if you don't need a prescription-strength dosage.