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If you got a “D” in school, you’d be in trouble. If you DON’T get “D” in adulthood, you’ll be in trouble! Here’s why:
- Vitamin D is essential for bone strength, fighting infections, helping our muscles move, carrying messages through the nervous system, and regulating cell growth.
- Vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis and higher risk of fractures as well as an increased risk for cardiovascular problems, some cancers and autoimmune disorders, and diabetes.
Signs of possible Vitamin D deficiency
These signs may arise from other causes, but Vitamin D deficiency can cause them too:
- Getting colds, bronchitis, or pneumonia often
- Bone, muscle, or back pain
- Impaired wound healing
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
How you get Vitamin D:
- Sunlight: 10-15 minutes of sunlight exposure 2 – 3 times a week (to prevent skin cancer, wear sunscreen for exposure longer than this). Check with your healthcare provider about whether exposure to direct sunlight is advisable for you. Some medications and health conditions cause adverse reactions to sunlight exposure.
- Diet: Some manufacturers fortify their foods with Vitamin D, particularly milk, cereals, and orange juice. Seafoods, such as salmon, shrimp, tuna, and oysters, provide Vitamin D. Egg yolks and mushrooms also have natural Vitamin D.
- Supplements: Vitamin D over-the-counter supplements are often recommended by physicians for their at-risk patients. You may want to ask your healthcare provider to test your Vitamin D levels. It’s a simple blood test and you don’t even need to be fasting. Your healthcare provider can recommend what dosage of Vitamin D would be indicated for you individually.
Vitamin D is vital for our overall functioning – our bones, muscles, immune systems, and nervous systems all rely on Vitamin D. In the Pacific Northwest where we don’t get a whole lot of sunlight, particularly in fall and winter, food sources and supplements play a greater role in maintaining our Vitamin D levels. Please check with your doctor about testing your Vitamin D level. It’s an easy way to ensure that your body has what it needs to function at its best.
Marla LeFevre, RN
Director of Health Services
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