Are You Deficient in Vitamin D?


Recent research indicates that vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 32 % of us are vitamin D deficient. However, the serum levels the CDC considers “normal” are far below what researchers now consider optimal for health. Many more of us could benefit from managing our levels of this fat-soluble vitamin.

Does it really make that much of a difference? Research shows that optimized D3 levels reduce the risk of many cancers, autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses. What’s more, those already suffering can greatly improve and manage the course of their diseases with optimized levels. For those with cardiovascular disease, it’s been found that a heart attack victim’s mortality rate is much higher with a vitamin D deficiency. Optimized levels also make it easier to fight off infections – bacterial and viral – and assist with DNA repair and metabolic processes.

Why is vitamin D deficiency so prevalent here? Our latitude has much to do with it. Vitamin D is different from other vitamins. Our bodies create it primarily from exposure to the sun. The equatorial region has more direct sun exposure and lower rates of vitamin D deficiency. In the latitude of most of the United States, we get the sun less directly, at an angle, so the atmosphere interferes with our exposure. In addition, the use of sunscreen in our country is widespread which further reduces our exposure. Of course sunscreen is important for cancer prevention, especially during the middle of the day, but a little sun exposure in the early morning or late afternoon could be beneficial. Our individual risks vary so it’s wise to follow your doctor’s advice. Certain populations produce vitamin D at a reduced rate from comparable sun exposure, such as the elderly. Since vitamin D is instrumental in calcium absorption, D deficiency may play a role in age-related osteoporosis.

Since we each create vitamin D and metabolize supplements differently, the right blood test to determine serum levels is crucial as we determine how much more we need. The doctors at Atlanta Functional Medicine can help you to determine the best course of action in optimizing your Vitamin D profile.

By Cheryl Salinas


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