Vitamin D is essential to a healthy life. However, very few dietary sources of vitamin D exist. For most people, their only source of vitamin D is produced naturally by the body in reaction to sunlight. However, some people either do not get enough sunlight or cannot produce enough vitamin D for a variety of reasons. Here are four types of people who may suffer from vitamin D deficiencies:
Infants are prone to vitamin D deficiencies for two reasons:
- Breast milk is a poor source of vitamin D. In fact, cow’s milk is also a poor source of vitamin D, but most cow milk in the U.S. has been fortified with vitamin D since the 1930s. Older children can suffer from rickets if they do not receive enough vitamin D in their youth, resulting in bone pain, soft or deformed bones, and impaired growth.
- Infants are usually kept out of the sunlight. An infant’s skin is sensitive to sunlight and doctors usually recommend shielding infants from direct sunlight until they reach about six months old. Since skin needs about 15 minutes of exposure to the sun every day to produce enough vitamin D, infants are prone to vitamin D deficiencies.
As we age, our skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight diminishes. The normal process for synthesizing vitamin D happens when:
- The upper layers of the skin produce 7-dehydrocholesterol
- Ultraviolet-B (or UVB) rays striking the skin convert 7-dehydrocholesterol into previtamin D3
- The skin coverts previtamin D3 into cholecalciferol
- The liver converts cholecalciferol along with any dietary sources of vitamin D into calcidiol
- The kidneys convert calcidiol into calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D3
A natural product of aging is that the skin produces less 7-dehydrocholesterol. Consequently, the body is unable to produce the same amounts of vitamin D as when it was younger. Moreover, some research suggests that age diminishes the ability of the skin, liver, and kidneys to synthesize vitamin D.
Because vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption into bones, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis. For this reason, many seniors order vitamin D supplements when they order calcium supplements for osteoporosis. When seniors order vitamin D supplements at the same time they order calcium supplements online, seniors can receive both nutrients, thus strengthening their bones further.
People Who Don’t See a Lot of Sunlight
There are many reasons why people might not receive enough sunlight to synthesize vitamin D. This includes:
- Night workers who spend much of the day sleeping
- People with disabilities might not spend enough time outdoors
- People who live above 37 degrees north latitude may not receive enough sunlight during certain months of the year. This includes almost every U.S. state outside of the desert southwest and the southeast.
- People with sun sensitivities or those who are prone to skin cancer. Sunscreen reduces the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D by as much as 98%.
People who cannot, or do not, receive enough exposure to sunlight, may need to increase their dietary intake of foods high in vitamin D and order vitamin D supplements.
People With Dark Skin
Skin color is determined by the amount of melanin in the skin. Melanin dissipates UVB radiation. This is a positive function since UVB rays cause sunburn and repeated exposure can result in skin cancer. However, UVB rays also interact with the vitamin D precursor 7-dehydrocholesterol to start vitamin D synthesis. As a result of the melanin blocking and dissipating UVB, people with dark skin require more exposure to sunlight to synthesize enough vitamin D. This is of particular concern for people with dark skin who also fall into the other categories of people prone to vitamin D deficiencies. It may be necessary to order vitamin D supplements and eat foods high in vitamin D such as egg yolks, liver, oily fish, and fortified milk for each person on this list.
Order Vitamin D Supplements Today
Vitamin D is vital for our bones and health. Because vitamin D is synthesized in sunlight, it is thought that vitamin D may be related to the body’s sleep cycle. When taking vitamin D supplements, many people find that taking it in the morning reduces the likelihood it will interfere with sleep placing you with the 45% of Americans who have trouble falling asleep. When you’re ready to invest in your health, rely on Fit Formula Wellness for more information.