Vitamin D benefit muscular function, bone health, and cardiovascular system. But can a deficiency of Vitamin D cause any type of illness?
Vitamin D is perhaps the easiest to procure – simply walk out and enjoy the sunshine, while your body harvests all the Vitamin D it needs. Vitamin D helps regulate blood pressure, contributes to stronger bones and muscles, eases fibromyalgia pain, and slows the development of multiple sclerosis. However, not getting enough of this vitamin can cause health problems as well.
Your dietician can help better determine the diet you need to follow in order to bring the vitamin D level back on track
Common Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can be diagnosed in a person who suffers from bone pain, weakness in muscles, and high blood pressure. Those who are deficient may also report depression. If you are not getting enough sunlight, your body could be lacking in Vitamins D2 and D3. Your dietician or physician can help you out in this case, and it is best you seek their help if you are showing these symptoms.
If You Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D…
You are at risk of contracting illnesses such as dementia, prostate cancer, severe ED (erectile dysfunction), schizophrenia, and heart disease.
According to a 2014 study published in Neurology journal, people in old age that have a vitamin D deficiency have a doubled risk of getting dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia leads to impaired cognitive abilities including compromised memory and behavioral imbalance. Over 80% of dementia cases suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercising regularly, consuming a healthy diet, and keeping a check on mental health can all significantly reduce the risk of getting any memory-related illness later in life
Although the study could not establish a cause-effect relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and dementia, it was able to theorize that getting more sunlight helps the brain fight dementia-causing plaque.
– Prostate Cancer
This link was found in another 2014 study conducted by Clinical Cancer Research Centre. The study included a sample of 667 men, aged 40-79 years, who were going through prostate biopsies. The African-American men included in the study showed the strongest connection, meaning they are at the greatest risk of getting cancer due to deficiency of Vitamin D.
This study, like the above-mentioned one, was observational, and so no conclusive link between vitamin D deficiency and prostate cancer was established. However, it did show that, if you have a deficiency of this vitamin, asking your doctor to test you for potential prostate cancer may be a good idea. In case you are above 66 years of age, the American Cancer Society considers you at the highest risk of prostate cancer, and regular checks should become your priority.
– Severe ED
Men with severe ED had significantly lower levels of Vitamin D than those with mild ED, according to a 2014 study. The authors of the study concluded that the arteries lose dilating abilities when a person suffers from Vitamin D deficiency – a condition known as endothelial dysfunction. Other research has also made similar linkages. For example, a 2011 study published by the American College of Cardiology showed that lack of sun exposure leads to arterial stiffness in people who are otherwise completely healthy.
ED affects over 30 million men in America, and can occur due to diabetes, irregular blood pressure, and prostate cancer. Treatment of ED requires patients to cut down on alcohol consumption, smoking, and making lifestyle changes.
The American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts in addition to exercise in order to maintain a healthy heart
– Risk of Schizophrenia
This disease affects around 1.1% Americans, and is most commonly present in people aged 16-30. Early signs of schizophrenia include incoherent speech, social withdrawal, focusing issues, hallucinations, and weakened attention span.
According to a 2014 study published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, people deficient in Vitamin D have double the chance of developing schizophrenia compared to those with healthy Vitamin D levels. That is why people living on higher altitudes and in colder climates (without much sunlight) report the most number of schizophrenia cases.
– Heart Disease
A review published in Circulation Research in 2014 highlights numerous studies that have established a link between deficiency of Vitamin D and heart disease, however it still remains unclear whether taking supplements can help overcome this risk. Not having enough Vitamin D can lead to hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and even a stroke.
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