Vitamin D Deficiency - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Vitamin D Deficiency

Posted: Updated:

Have you taken your vitamin D today?

It is more essential than you may realize.

Health experts now say, Vitamin D plays a major role in preventing or reducing disease and chronic conditions among adults and young children.

Here is a real dose of why you need Vitamin D.

Would you believe that medical experts now say, vitamin D is more than just a simple vitamin. They consider it to be more like a hormone .

Dr. Suzanne Judd is a professor in UAB'S Department of Bio statistics.

She says, "Vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone. The function of vitamin D is to maintain calcium and phosphorus levels in our bodies, so they don't drop to critical levels.

And vitamin D does the body good; beyond just strengthening the bones, but the vitamin d level has to be monitored for adequate amounts within your blood.

Judd states, "There's a certain range than protects you from chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer that level is around 30. Some people argue it might be 20."

 

Problem is health experts say, low levels of vitamin D among Americans are all too common.

Judd says, "Especially in the African Americans in Birmingham, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is extremely high, as high as 75%.

Skin color is a major factor in determining what your vitamin D level will be that is circulating in your body. The lighter your skin color the more rapidly you make vitamin D in your body.

Now, if you're among the millions of Americans who use sunscreen to protect your skin, here's a heads up for you too.

Dr. Judd says, "Most people don't know that an SPF of eight will block all vitamin D conversion in your skin."

There are such low levels of vitamin D in the bodies of children, and adults, including pregnant women, that doctors are seeing the consequences.

Dr. Judd says, "We're also starting to see it associated with things like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke."

And when a breastfeeding mother doesn't have enough vitamin D that can affect the baby.

Dr. Judd says, "Even in places like Birmingham, we're seeing children with rickets. What is rickets? It's a bone disease in children.that causes the bones to be soft."

Experts now say, adequate vitamin D reduces pregnancy complications.

For an adequate amount of vitamin D daily, Dr. Judd recommends three sources.

The primary source-- sensible sun exposure.

10 to 15 minutes for light skin tones and 20 to 25 for medium to darker skin tones.

You can get some vitamin D from foods such as fatty fish, fortified cereal and fortified milk.

But, Dr. Judd says, "There's not a lot of vitamin D in foods compared to vitamin D supplements."

It takes five glasses of milk to consume 1,000 units of vitamin D. So, it takes 10 glasses for 2,000 units. But when you choose, make sure to check the label to make sure it's vitamin D3.

Dr. Judd tells me, "The type of vitamin D you make in your skin is D3. The easiest form of vitamin D to put in milk is D2 and this came from mushrooms. If you can get D3, it's a better supplement."

Dr. Judd recommends most people taking vitamin D3 supplements with 2,000 international units a day.

However, how much vitamin D you should take is determined by your blood level.

There is a level of vitamin D that is too much. That's why it is important to ask your doctor to check your vitamin D level.

UAB is conducting research investigating an association between vitamin D and strokes, also researchers are looking at whether vitamin D helps the immune system to not fight our own body such as the case in type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

By the way, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vitamin D

supplements for all children over two months old.