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Learn about Vitamin D deficiency and what you can do about it

Dark complected individuals synthesize less vitamin D on exposure to sunlight and tend to have lower levels of vitamin D.

Over weight individuals due to large stores of body fat are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is fat soluble and once it is ingested it will go into storage. Vitamins A, E and K are also fat soluble.

The elderly are at risk of vitamin D deficiency because of decreased ability to synthesize vitamin D and lack of sun exposure. Elderly in nursing homes are at high risk. Supplements are usually prescribed. Adults develop soft bones, called Osteomalacia and bone pain.

Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s disease and after having small bowel surgery are at risk. Cholestatic liver disease and cystic fibrosis are conditions resulting in poor fat absorption are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

The strength and integrity of bone depends on a strong matrix which creates bone density. Bone density can be affected by extreme vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is well known for maintaining normal calcium levels. It can be provided through food or from sunlight. Tanning beds can also provide the UV rays that synthesize vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D functions as an important hormone by sending messages through the skin to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium.

To maintain a proper balance, Vitamin D supplements work best when taken with calcium and magnesium. Look for a natural vitamin D3 which stays in your system longer.

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. It will fulfill your entire vitamin D requirement. Sunscreen and protective clothing for fair complected and the elderly can prevent skin cancer and sun damage should obtain more vitamin D from food and supplements.

SPF 8 reduces production of vitamin D by 95%. UVB radiation is insufficient in areas north of Boston from November to March. Check the cities with latitudes north of 40 degrees on your US map to find out which cities have insufficient amounts.

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