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Vitamin D deficiency worldwide.

Vitamin D and food sources

 

Open to speculation, Drake says, is that deficiencies of vitamin D may have worsened in recent years as more people became aware of the risks of skin cancer and aggressively avoided sun exposure or used sunscreen lotions, on themselves and their children. Experts still agree that a fairly modest amount of sun is enough—perhaps 10-15 minutes of exposure on your arms and face about three times a week. Sunburn should of course be avoided.

Alternatively, you also can get vitamin D from some foods, including vitamin fortified milk and some cereals or breads—assuming you don’t have a diet rich in oily fish. For higher levels, supplements are usually necessary.

Among the recent findings and observations about vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions as a hormone in the body, regulating calcium metabolism.
  • Most people living above 40 degrees latitude do not obtain enough vitamin D from about mid-November to early March.
  • Infants who are exclusively breast-fed, and are not supplemented with vitamin D, are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency, because human milk generally doesn’t have adequate levels.
  • People with dark-colored skin have significantly less ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, as do the elderly.
  • Obesity increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency because obese individuals cannot easily access the vitamin D stored in body fat.

So if adequate levels of vitamin D are critical to your health, how much is enough? Depends on who you ask, Drake says. The official government recommendation is 200 IU per day—although moderate sun exposure might provide about 100 times that much. Many multivitamins provide about 400 IU per day, and it’s generally accepted that levels up to 2,000 IU per day pose no health risk. Some studies underway with pregnant women are giving them 4,000 IU per day in supplements.

One study last year indicated an adequate level of vitamin D, produced by daily supplements of up to 2,000 IU per day, might prevent 30 percent of breast cancer cases and 50 percent of colon cancer cases in the United States—at extremely low cost and with few or no adverse effects.

 

Highlights OF VITAMIN D

  • Vitamin D deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide in all age groups.

  • Low vitamin D status is a problem even in countries with sun exposure all year round.

  • This problem is particularly high in the Middle East, specially among girls and women.

  • There is striking lack of vitamin D status data in infants, children and adolescents

  • There is also lack of data in most countries of South America and Africa.

Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem. With all the medical advances of the century, vitamin D deficiency is still epidemic. Over a billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient or insufficient
 

Vitamin D3 deficiency can result in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis and neuro-degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin D deficiency may even contribute to the development of cancers, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers
 
Despite the abundance of sunshine in the Middle East allowing vitamin D synthesis all year round, the region registers some of the lowest levels of vitamin D and the highest rates of hypovitaminosis D worldwide.
 

  • Vitamin D3 is believed to play a role in controlling the immune system (possibly reducing one’s risk of cancers and autoimmune diseases), increasing neuromuscular function and improving mood, protecting the brain against toxic chemicals, and potentially reducing pain

  • Minimum take 5000 units of Vitamin D under tongue daily.