The Sunshine vitamin deficiency

Vitamin D Foods

Vitamin D is a vital componant to our bone and mucles's health. But recently more and more research is coming out to change the way we think about all vitamins and minarels but namely Vit-D or as they call it the sunshine vitamin which is produced in the epidermis ( the lower layer of the skin) when we are exposed to the sun light , specifically the UVB. Another main source of vitamin D is food like fish, fishliver oil, beefliver, egg yolks and fortified dairy and grain products. The most improtant effect of this vitamis is the intestinal absorbtion of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. But now we know that it plays an important role in immunity and ,believe it or not it, in our mental health as well. Evenmore than that, some reports are presenting vitamin D deffiency as a major player in  severe cases of Acne and Asthma  and it becomes very clear that Vitamin D defiency is happining at a much earlier age in our community than ever seen before. In a lot of cases the geographical area, the number of sunny days a year and the type of diet people consume what determins vitamin D level in the population in that region. But the dramatic change in technology and the hours people spend in door v. outdoor has made things much worse. Vitamin D deficency can be asymptomatic for a long time, what makes things more dangrous. So what are the symptoms? Usually they includ muscle aches , bone pain, decreased concentration capasity, Depression, sever Asthma, severe Acne, increased risk of cardiovascular events, high blood pressure, Diabetes Mellitus and even Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer. How is it diagnosed? a simple blood test. I screen all my patients for it and believe it or not, 90% of my patients age 16 and above are defecient despite the fact that we live in Texas and we have a high number of sunny days per year. Who is at higher risk of vit-D deficiency? Vegan, patients with food allergies, darker skin and people who ware traditional clothing that covers the entire body from being exposed to the sun. What makes things even more complicated that Vit-D supplements can improve blood levels and improve musculoskeletal symptoms but studies have failed to demonstarte a significant association of supplemental Vit-D and reduction in Cardiovascular events, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus or general mortality. Some reports shows benefits in treating depression. In conclusion we need to screen for it and supplement it, but more importantly we need to improve the natural sources that makes our body produces more vitamin D by spending more time out door and creating more activities for kids out door and make sure they are exposed to the sun 20-30 min per day at least. Also we need to pay close atention to the type of food that are rich in Vit-D and have it as part or our meals more often. 

 

Author
Dr.Ousama Moammar Board Certified in Internal Medicine/Critical Care

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