Vitamin D Deficiency

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Usually there are no symptoms for most people with low blood levels of vitamin D. Having a severe deficiency in adult can cause soft bones, called osteomalacia, including bone pain and muscle weakness. This deficiency in children can lead to rickets and symptoms of soft bones and skeletal problems. This condition is rare in the United States.

Blood Test For Vitamin D Levels

You can check your vitamin D level with a simple blood test called the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. The guidelines as a goal has been set by the Institute of Medicine of 20 nanograms per milliliter for good bone health and overall health. Your doctor may tell you to go higher to about 30 mg/mL in order to get the full health benefits of vitamin D.

Recommended Allowance For Vitamin D

The dietary recommended allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU per day for adults up to age 70. Those 71 and older should go for 800 IU from their diet. Of course there are some researchers who recommend much higher doses, however, too much vitamin D (above 4,000 IU per day) can harm you.

If you are breast feeding your infant, there isn’t much vitamin D in the milk and your baby needs 400 IU of this vitamin until they’re weaned to fortified formula and can drink at least one liter every day. For older children they should have a supplement with 400 IU to 600 IU as they seldom get enough of this vitamin from drinking milk.

Levels Of Vitamin D

Laxatives, steroids and anti-seizure medicines cause your body to absorb less vitamin D. A heart medicine called digoxin can cause you to receive too much vitamin D, raising the level of calcium in your blood and leading to an abnormal heart rhythm.

Some newer studies suggest that people with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood may have a lower risk for colon cancer. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a greater risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease, but it’s not clear whether boosting vitamin D will reduce heart risks and how much of the vitamin is needed.

Does Vitamin D Prevent Cancer?

Articles are out there claiming vitamin D as a way to prevent breast and prostate cancer, but researchers don’t yet have enough evidence to say that the benefits are real. The American Cancer Society reports that a healthy body weight, regular exercise and diet may help prevent cancer.

Too low vitamin D levels are more likely reported in older people. The people who have the vitamin D deficiency performed poorly on tests of memory, attention and reasoning compared to those with enough vitamin D in their blood. More studies are still needed to learn if vitamin D supplements could prevent dementia or slow mental decline.

Remember that you can get vitamin D from spending some time in the sun, or even in the shade. Also try some of the foods with vitamin D such as salmon, swordfish or mackerel that can provide a healthy amount in one serving. Keep healthy and choose your foods wisely.

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