During the latter part of 2012, I ran into my doctor’s office for my routine checkup to get it in before my new deductible kicked in for 2013. A couple of days later, I got a call from my doctor’s office advising me that I had severe hypovitaminosis D or a deficiency of Vitamin D.
This diagnosis was a surprise and caught me totally off-guard. I had not given much thought to Vitamin D deficiency before getting this diagnosis. I was truly amazed at the degree in which Vitamin D, and its deficiency, affects the body and mind.
Vitamin D’s major biological function is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones by aiding in the absorption of calcium. It increases bone mineral density, decreases fractures, and provides protection against osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer and several autoimmune diseases.
A deficiency may be a result of inadequate nutritional intake of Vitamin D, along with an inadequate amount of exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet B rays. Or, Vitamin D deficiency may indicate an issue affecting the kidneys, liver, digestive system, or the presence of cancer.
Vitamin D is found in many foods, such as eggs, fish (salmon and tuna), fortified milk, and cod liver oil. There are two forms of Vitamin D that is important to healthy bones and body: ergocalciferon (Vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants. Vitamin D3is synthesized by humans in the skin when exposed to sunlight and ultraviolet B rays. Foods may be fortified or enriched with Vitamin D2 or D3.
Vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed from the testing of a blood sample. There are some differences in the medical community when it comes to categorizing Vitamin D deficiency:
The differences in the categorization of Vitamin D deficiency may have a bearing on how effectively it is treated.
It is extremely difficult to maintain a “healthy” level of Vitamin D through foods and exposure to the sun. Children need 400 – 800 International Units (IUs) for good health, depending on their age, weight and growth. Adults need at least 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D which equates to approximately 10 glasses of milk and one serving of fish per day.
A daily supplement is recommended for both children and adults to ensure appropriate levels of Vitamin D are maintained. To treat severe deficiency, as much as 10,000 to 15,000 IUs of Vitamin D may need to be administered daily. My doctor prescribed a daily intake of 10,000 IUs for me.
To prevent Vitamin D deficiency or hypovitaminosis, you should request that your doctor check your Vitamin D level. A diet rich in Vitamin D, such as eggs, fish, fortified milk, and cod liver oil, is essential to maintain good bone health but is usually not enough to prevent Vitamin D deficiency. To maintain overall optimum health and wellness, Vitamin D supplements should be added to your daily regime.
It is important to prevent or correct a Vitamin D deficiency as soon as possible. If you feel you may be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, consult with your doctor to assess your condition.
If you have suffered from Vitamin D deficiency, please let us know what you experienced and how you’re maintaining your health by posting a comment below.