Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that our bodies produce on its own with the help of the sun. Luckily for our kids they get a summer vacation that allows them to be outside most days.
Now if you're a good parent you make sure that your child has plenty of sunscreen on to protect them from sun burn. What's funny about this is that it can create a deficiency of "D" in our children's bodies.
What Does It Do?
One of the major functions is in the maintenance of normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Another is the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. More recent research is now suggesting that Vit. D may also provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer and several other autoimmune diseases. In other studies it has been shown that deficiencies may contribute to depression as well.
What Happens If I Don't Get Enough?
Classical Vit. D deficiency will result in Rickets for children. This shows up as skeletal deformities. For adults osteomalacia. This leads to muscular weakness and, additionally, weak bones.
Vitamin D and the Reduced Risk of Disease
Osteoporosis, bone fractures, muscle weakness are commonly related to its deficiency. But did you know that Cancers (Colon and Breast), diabetes, obesity, schizophrenia, depression, asthma, the flu, heart disease, and high blood pressure are also associated with a lack of Vit. D in our bodies.
For Pregnant women a lack of Vit. D is also associated with pregnancy induced hypertension, poor postnatal growth, low birth weight, bone fragility and increased incidence of childhood asthma
Whose at High Risk?
Children that are exclusively breast fed and those with limited sun exposure fall into the "at risk" category. Also, the elderly and obese individuals are at risk as well as individuals with Cystic Fibrosis or Crohn's Disease
Foods with "D"
Common Food Sources include:
Spend some time outdoors. 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight, 3 days a week, preferably without sun screen can be enough to produce the bodies required amount.
But when do we actually ever get enough of the nutrients that our bodies need. It is always best to take supplements that deliver a high dose of D.
Today's doctors are recognizing that we should be taking at least 2000 IU/day if not as high as 4000 IU/day.