Did you know that up to a staggering 80 percent of American adults are vitamin D deficient?
That’s a very disturbing statistic, considering that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, mental impairment in older adults and cancer.
In fact, many studies suggest that vitamin D plays a role in prevention and treatment of a number of disease conditions - including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.
And now a new study reveals that insufficient vitamin D may also be linked to severity of asthma symptoms in children.
It shows that higher intake of vitamin D by pregnant women reduces asthma risk in their children by as much as 40 percent. At the same time, pregnant women who were vitamin D deficient had a greater chance of having a child who suffered from asthma and other allergies.
Not only that, children with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to be hospitalized for asthma symptoms relative to those who had enough vitamin D in their bloodstream. They were also more likely to be hyperactive and experience allergies and sensitivities.
Vitamin D is made in skin cells in response to UV rays from the sun. Getting enough exposure to sunlight is a straightforward, surefire way to elevate your vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:
- Not consuming recommended levels over time - this can happen if you follow a strict vegetarian diet because most natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk and beef liver.
- Limited exposure to sunlight - your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.
- Dark skin - the pigment melanin reduces your skin's ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency.
- Loss of kidney function - as people age, their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.
- Poor absorption - certain medical problems, including Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease can affect the intestine's ability to absorb vitamin D from your diet.
- Obesity - vitamin D is extracted from blood by fat cells, altering its release into circulation. People with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater often have lower than normal blood levels of vitamin D.
The good news is, a vitamin D supplement can reduce your risk of asthma symptoms. In fact, if you have 60 ng/ml levels of vitamin D in your bloodstream, you’re unlikely to experience symptoms of asthma at all.
Breathe better - simply by getting more vitamin D!