The height of winter poses many problems for Americans. Aside from extreme cold and thick layer of snow on the road, we can also experience health and mental problems during the coldest season of the year.
One of the biggest health problems we encounter during this season is our lesser sunlight exposure. The cold environment prevents us from going our house and enjoying activities under the sun. As a result, more and more Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
Power of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is crucial in maintaining our health and wellness. Nutritionists say this vitamin (or more of a pro-hormone as it is processed inside our body; as opposed to vitamins that are only ingested by the body. It helps in controlling the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body, which promote promoting bone and cell growth. It also contributes to regulating our immune system to fight infections such as colds and flu.
Here are other functions of vitamin D in our body:
- Boosts brain development
- Reduces inflammation
- Optimize muscle function
- Provides healthy cardiovascular function
- Improves the respiratory system
- Have anti-cancer properties
Why are we Vitamin D deprived?
Despite our modern, sophisticated society is depriving us of the healthy Vitamin D dose. Here are some habits that can increase your likelihood of having lower levels of Vitamin D:
- Not having enough time outdoors – a major reason why most of us do not get sufficient sun exposure is our fear of getting skin cancer. We have been conditioned to avoid going out for too long in the outdoors.
- Wearing sunscreen, which prevents the sun’s capacity to trigger vitamin D production
- Having dark skin, which will not assimilate the sun’s rays as well as the light-skinned people
- Being obese, which usually increases your Vitamin D requirements
- Born with problems with processing Vitamin D. Some medical conditions keep other people from absorbing vitamin D well.
- Breastfeeding your baby for long periods
- Being 50 of age or older
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
While the loss in Vitamin D can severely affect your health, it does not usually cause symptoms. Some of its probable symptoms include problems in mental functioning, softer bones, and weaker muscles. Some may even have digestion problems.
If you are deprived of Vitamin D, you may have difficulty in thinking clearly, feel depressed, pain in your bones, frequent bone fractures, muscle weakness, softer bones that may lead to deformities, and unexplained fatigue.
Sleep loss and vitamin D
Lack of vitamin D can pose health problems, including sleep issues. Scientists found out that there is a relationship between low vitamin D levels and sleep problems, especially sleep apnea. Many people with this kind of vitamin deficiency only sleep five hours every night.
One data shows almost half of the overall population is prone to vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. A neurologist even says that low levels of this vitamin in our bodies could be a reason why sleep deprivation has blown out of proportions in the United States.
Fill in the deficiency
As seen above, a lack of Vitamin D in your body can result in various health problems, including sleep ailments that bring wellness issues on its own. Recovering from the deficiency is easy. Here are some ways to enjoy this vitamin.
- Get out in the sun without sunscreen on for 15 minutes each day – Sun exposure is best done at noon so that you can get the maximum vitamin D dose in just a few minutes (a quarter of an hour is enough for fair-skinned people).
- Take supplements containing Vitamin D – There are multivitamins and other kinds of supplements that can supply you with this sunshine vitamin especially if you cannot get it naturally.
- Eating foods with high Vitamin D content – Consume more salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, eggs, cereals, and milk. These foods can help boost your Vitamin D levels.
- Use ultraviolet lamps or bulbs – Phototherapy using UV lights is a powerful way to fill in the Vitamin D insufficiency, but it should be carefully monitored by experts as you might get skin cancer from too much exposure to it.
- Consult your doctor – Have your Vitamin D levels checked by your doctor before you undergo any method to address your lack of the sunshine vitamin in your body.
Vitamin D is perhaps one of the most easily obtained nutrient. But our misconceptions we had from years of misinformation by many so-called experts and media have hampered us from basking in the power of the sun. Hopefully, with the information above, you can start having a more optimistic outlook about exposing yourself to sunlight or find out ways proactively to fill in the deficiency in the sunshine nutrient for better health and sleep.