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Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency

Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a chemical produced by the skin with the aid of sunlight. If you work in an environment where you are unable to spend enough time outdoors, you may need to take a supplement to ensure that you are receiving the proper amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to your health. It provides anti-cancer benefits, helps with brain development and improves immunity, cardiovascular function, respiratory function and muscle tone.

What Causes a Vitamin D Deficiency? 

There are a number of reasons why people do not get adequate amounts of vitamin D. Normally, the body produces the necessary vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, many people work indoors or wear sunscreen. For those who live in the Northern states, getting enough sun exposure can be difficult in the winter. Finally, as you age, your skin cannot produce as much vitamin D. Taking a vitamin D supplement can ensure you are receiving the necessary amount of vitamin D you need to protect your health.

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Vitamin D is used to improve the density of bone by helping the bone cells to uptake calcium and use it properly. When a vitamin D deficiency occurs, you are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis cause bones to become brittle and the body begins losing bone or making too little bone. This causes an increased risk of experiencing fractures. In addition to this, there are numerous other effects of a vitamin D deficiency.

Weakened Immune System

Vitamin D is used by the body to turn processes on and off, including immunity. Vitamin D strengthens T cells in the body. These are the immune cells that seek out and destroy microbes that invade the body and cause illnesses and infections.

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Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, a vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 80 percent. The researchers stated that vitamin D helps with insulin secretion and the conversion of glucose into energy. Low vitamin D levels can increase insulin resistance and impair the metabolism of glucose in the body.

Cardiovascular Disease

A vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of a number of cardiovascular diseases, including congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and peripheral arterial disease. Vitamin D helps to decrease inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of arterial calcification. Vitamin D suppresses renin which is a hormone that increases systolic blood pressure. By combining a vitamin D supplement and a calcium supplement systolic blood pressure readings can be decreased.

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Depression

A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of developing depression. Depression often results from lower serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone produced in the brain that helps elevate the mood. This all-important hormone increases when the body is exposed to sunlight or a vitamin D supplement is taken.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis occurs when the immune system attacks the nerve cells’ protective coating. Multiple sclerosis can cause eye pain and blurry vision, numbness throughout the body, fatigue, balance and gait problems, vertigo, muscle pain, depression and trouble thinking clearly. Because vitamin D helps improve immunity, studies suggest that a vitamin D supplement may decrease the risk of developing multiple sclerosis and help ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

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Cancer

Vitamin D provides anti-tumor protection by regulating the genes that are involved with the spread of cancer cells. Studies have shown that vitamin D may help lower the risk of developing certain cancers, including colorectal cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. In fact, a vitamin D supplement can help reduce the size of a tumor by 25 percent within a week and increase the lymphocytes in the body. Vitamin D helps the body increase platelets and red blood cells and boosts the immune system, allowing the body to better fight off cancer and disease.

Approximately 25 percent of the American population has a vitamin D deficiency. If you work indoors, live in a northern climate or are dark skinned, you are at an increased risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. Spending time outdoors and taking a vitamin D supplement will help to correct this deficiency and protect against cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

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Erick Clifford

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Last Updated on May 21, 2020

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

1. The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

2. Whole30

The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

During the month you are eliminating:

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  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • legumes
  • grains
  • dairy
  • soy

Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

Finding Out How Food Impacts You

Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

3. The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes & nuts
  • Replacing butter with olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Moderate amounts of red wine

Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

4. The Alkaline Diet

The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

The Big Takeaway:

Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

Reference

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