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Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D has been in the spotlight for more than a decade now, as a potential threat to our health. In a report published by the ISCD in 2012,

Since vitamin D plays a role in cell growth, skeletal health, immune function, and the inflammatory process, a vitamin D deficiency can have a devastating impact on your overall health.

Why Your Body Needs Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a building block your body needs to be able to produce calcitriol. Calcitriol is a biological hormone that supports a number of different functions in your body. Your body needs vitamin D to:

Your body is light-sensitive. You need exposure to bright sunlight to activate vitamin D production, and you need to sleep in a pitch-dark room to activate the production of other compounds like melatonin.

Although scientists have yet to discover the exact relationship between vitamin D and depression, studies link low levels of vitamin D to increased risks of developing depression.

Low levels of vitamin D can have serious consequences for mental health. One study found a very strong relationship between low levels of vitamin D and schizophrenia.

Scientists have found that vitamin D acts on portions of the brain that have been linked to depression. The brain also contains vitamin D receptors that may shed light on how vitamin D supports brain health and, therefore, supports mood.

If your levels of vitamin D are low, a simple vitamin D supplement, or some time spent in the sun, may be all you need to chase those blues away.

One theory on why vitamin D deficiencies often increase depression is that vitamin D affects the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, like serotonin. Traditional antidepressants increase the amount of monoamines in the brain – like serotonin. Since the brain has vitamin D receptors, some scientists think that vitamin D functions in a similar way.

Can vitamin D be used as an antidepressant? It would seem that the answer depends on whether you have a vitamin D deficiency to begin with. The studies on vitamin D supplements for depression are mixed, but one thing seems clear: If you are feeling blue, then you should have your levels of vitamin D checked.

Most of the functions of vitamin D occur via the vitamin D receptor, or VDR. Through VDR, vitamin D is an important immune system regulator. It regulates and modulates your immune system.

Vitamin D also plays a very important role in cell differentiation. When you are injured or the body is wounded in some way, cells multiply or proliferate to produce tissue to heal the wound.

While cell multiplication is important for wound healing, proliferation without differentiation can be dangerous and may be one of the underlying causes of cancer. Vitamin D is crucial for promoting cell differentiation. Vitamin D inhibits or regulates proliferation and increases cell differentiation. Vitamin D may therefore play an indirect role in protecting you from conditions like cancer.

You need energy to survive, and you need your body to able to convert the nutrients in your food into glucose, and then into ATP, which is stored by your body and used as energy. Insulin plays a crucial role in allowing cells to covert glucose into energy. When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, glucose increases in the blood stream, causing high blood glucose, which ultimately results in diabetes.
Fluctuations in blood glucose levels can leave you feeling fatigued, and they may also result in an inability to manage your weight effectively.
There are a number of studies that link vitamin D to blood sugar levels, insulin secretion, and glucose sensitivity. Once again, the exact mechanism of how vitamin D regulates insulin, glucose usage, and blood glucose levels is unclear, but what is clear is that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with the conditions that are linked to glucose metabolism.
Vitamin D deficiencies have linked to
If you are feeling fatigued or struggling with high blood glucose, then it may help to have your vitamin D levels checked.
If your levels of vitamin D are low, then increasing vitamin D can help to improve your blood glucose and insulin levels, although you will still most likely require some diet and lifestyle changes to go along with the additional vitamin D.

A system called the renin-angiotensin system plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure. The production of angiotensin is dependent on a renin encoding gene in certain cells. Without the renin gene, the body cannot produce sufficient angiotensin.

Studies have found that a lack of vitamin D results in the decreased expression of the renin gene. A vitamin D deficiency can therefore result in an increased risk of hypertension or high blood pressure. High blood pressure can result from numerous factors, so it would be incorrect to assume your hypertension is caused by vitamin D or that a vitamin D supplement will be the only therapy you need, but, if you have hypertension, it may be worth checking your vitamin D levels to ensure your vitamin D levels are high enough to support health.
Where You Get Vitamin D
Essentially, your body stores the vitamin D you produce, or consume, until it is needed by your body. Vitamin D is so important that your body has devised a way to make its own vitamin D. There are special cells within your skin, called Keratinocytes, that produce vitamin D when they are exposed to UVB radiation – or UVB rays from the sun. Sadly, most sunscreen lotions these days limit or prevent UVB from reaching these skin cells, and this means that time spent in the sun does not support the production of vitamin D for the body. There are various foods that contain vitamin D. If you find you have lower vitamin D levels, then a diet rich in these foods can perhaps help you to rectify the situation.
One of the richest sources of vitamin D is pink salmon. A 3-ounce serving of canned, pink salmon can provide you with 465 IU of vitamin D. A 3-ounce portion of canned mackerel can provide about 211 IU of vitamin D, and 3 ounces of sardines can provide about 164 IU of vitamin D. Egg yolks contain 37 IU of vitamin D. It is, however, important to realize that supplements are a form of medication, and they can interfere with other medications and conditions. You could invest in a top quality vitamin D supplement, but it is always best to check with your medical practitioner before you take a vitamin or mineral supplement.

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