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"Symptoms of Low Vitamin D - What You May Not Know"

Vitamin D deficiency may go undetected in the beginning. Even if you are feeling perfectly fine, you might be low on vitamin D. Eating a modern diet and living a modern lifestyle mean you are likely low on the critical "sunshine vitamin".

You probably know that vitamin D is good for you and you should try to get it through your diet. But, do you know WHY you need it? Do you know how to know if you are low on vitamin D? Well, take a look at this quick list of common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency and think about whether or not any match what you are experiencing on a daily or weekly basis:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mild depression
  • Irritability
  • Pain in muscles and bones
  • Appetite loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Impaired vision
  • Fatigue
If you think you might be experiencing any of those, then keep reading to find out if low vitamin D might be the issue.

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?

According to new research, seventy-five percent of U.S. teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D[1]. This is thought to be mainly due to a diet lacking in vitamin D-rich foods and a lifestyle of indoor work and play. But, that's not all. There are a whole host of other reasons you might be deficient in vitamin D. Here is a list of reasons why you might be deficient:

  • Being overweight
  • Eating a vegetarian diet
  • Living in an area that doesn't get enough sun year around to produce all the vitamin D you need
  • Dark skin
  • Consuming a lacking in foods such as animal meat, fish liver oils, egg yolks, and fortified dairy and grain products
  • Having kidneys that can't convert vitamin D into the active form
  • Being older than 50
  • Having a digestive disorder like Celiac Disease
Any of the above can put you at risk for being vitamin D deficient. Just being older than 50 can mean you might be vitamin D deficient.

Older adults are at increased risk of developing vitamin D insufficiency in part because, as they age, skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently, they are likely to spend more time indoors, and they may have inadequate intakes of the vitamin [2].

Why would it matter if you are vitamin D deficient? You are about to find out...

Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency

Low vitamin D levels can...

  • Increase risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Increase risk of asthma
  • Cause hypertension
  • Increase risk of diabetes
  • Cause glucose intolerance
  • Cause cognitive impairment
  • Cause depression
This is from a research report published by the National Institute of Health:

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke, as well as other cardiovascular-related diseases, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, atherosclerosis, and endothelial dysfunction [3].

The Solution - A Simple Two-Pronged Approach

Now that you know the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency (did you find any that you think you might be feeling?) and the risks of vitamin D deficiency, its time to tell you the solution.

Like most health problems, a proper diet is essential to solving vitamin D deficiency. But, diet may not be enough. The modern diet often doesn't easily lend itself to consuming enough vitamin D to meet your daily needs. Also, Considering most of us work indoors, getting enough sunlight won't work by itself either...

In the absence of sun exposure 1000 IU of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is required daily for both children and adults [6].

To make sure you experience the great benefits of vitamin D, you need the RIGHT high quality vitamin D supplement.

Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation

  • Boosts mood and can help get rid of depression (especially if you live in a colder or more northern climate with limited sun exposure)
  • Makes bones stronger because it helps your body use calcium from your diet
  • Helps prevent type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolderance, and multiple sclerosis
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. It is used, alone or in combination with calcium, to increase bone mineral density and decrease fractures. Recently, research also suggests that vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases [7].

What Form of Vitamin D Should You Take? (D2 vs. D3)

Vitamin D2 is not equal to vitamin D3. D3 is the kind of vitamin that the body makes, and recent studies suggest that vitamin D3 can be up to three times more effective in increasing the vitamin D level quickly and staying longer.

Can't You Just Take a Multivitamin?

The short answer is no. Most one-a-day multivitamins do not contain sufficient vitamin D to meet your daily needs.

All once-daily multivitamin products contain vitamin D, ranging from 400 to 800 IU, but this amount would be inadequate for most persons. Taking multiple doses of these to achieve adequate intake of vitamin D would be unwise, as it could result is excessive and harmful amounts of other ingredients [5].

References
1. Ginde, Adit A. "Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004". Arch Intern Med. 2009:169(6):626-632.
2. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
3. McGreevy C, Williams D. "New insights about vitamin D and cardiovascular disease: a narrative review". PMID: 22184689.
4. Holick, Michael F. "VITAMIN D AND HEALTH IN THE 21ST CENTURY: BONE AND BEYOND". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
5. Leavitt, Stewart B. "Vitamin D - A Neglected 'Analgesic' for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: An Evidence-Based Review & Clinic Practice Guidance". June 2008.
6. Holick, Michael F. "The Influence of Vitamin D on Bone Health Across the Life Cycle". Journal of Nutrition.
7. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/ns_patient-vitamind

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