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According to studies, vitamin D deficiency often correlates with a whole host of age-related health complications, including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and global mortality risk. Here are a few important things you need to know about vitamin D deficiency:

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Vitamin D & Age:

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Since many older adults grapple with vitamin D insufficiency, it’s important to know whether or not this issue is related to age. Robert Scragg and Carlos Camargo used the same database (from the previous study) to examine the link between vitamin D deficiency and the nature and frequency of outdoor activities adults carry out.

Considering the findings, vitamin D production drops with age, as people over the age of 60 performed fewer outdoor activities as they age. That said, vitamin D levels in the body are not affected by age, but rather by the lack of outdoor activities among older adults. A good way to increase your vitamin D count is to spend some time outdoors on a daily basis.

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Vitamin D & All-Cause Mortality Risk:

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Based on the analysis of a national survey database assembled by the U.S government, there is a strong relationship between vitamin D deficiency and mortality risk. The level of this vitamin was tested in 13,331 people between 1988 and 1994, and followed up until 2000 to gather data about the cause of death.

Investigators have come to the conclusion that vitamin D deficiency was associated with all-cause mortality. People who had the lowest levels (below 25%) showed a 26% increase in the overall risk of mortality, compared to people with a high level of vitamin D- that’s 3.1% of the global death risk of the U.S population. In other words, 3.1% of deaths in the U.S are caused by vitamin D shortage. Plus, it is a standalone risk factor for heart disease that should be considered among family history, high blood pressure, and obesity. It may be a factor in cancer fatalities as well.

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What Happens When Your Body Lacks Vitamin D?

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American adults are highly deficient in vitamin D. Statistically speaking, 40% of men and 50% of women have no more than 18 nanograms per millimeter of this vitamin.

Insufficient amounts of vitamin D in the body are tied to high blood pressure, insulin issues, diabetes risk and obesity. Indeed, vitamin D receptors are located in insulin-generating pancreatic cells, which confirms the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and diabetes. Moreover, heart attacks are most common in the winter season, since people go out less, and hence, receive less of the vitamin. On the other hand, people cope better with cancer in the summer, since they receive a high dose of vitamin D. But the link is still unclear.

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Proven Health Benefits Of Vitamin D:

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Vitamin D confers several health benefits. Actually, it normalizes your blood pressure, fights inflammation and boosts your immune system. This may preserve your heart health and prevent cancer.

In addition, this vitamin improves your bone strength and helps with the absorption of calcium- since bones are made of calcium. Children who are deficient in this particular vitamin are susceptible to rickets, while older adults may develop bone disease.

Several studies addressing vitamin D deficiency and its relation to depression, back pain and heart attack reveal that vitamin D has a significant impact on bone diseases and autoimmune disorders. Besides, insufficient levels of vitamin D may be the culprit of several illnesses, like multiple sclerosis.

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Vitamin D Is Not a Vitamin:

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It may come as a surprise that vitamin D is not a real vitamin. As a matter of fact, vitamin D is rather a micronutrient that the body processes and uses to fulfill several essential functions. It is a prohormone, which the body turns into a hormone.

In principle, your body derives this vitamin from the sunlight, particularly UV-B radiation. When your skin absorbs sun rays, they respond to certain chemicals, namely 7 –dehydrocholesterol, to produce vitamin D. Bear in mind that a 15 minute exposure to direct sunlight is more than enough to secure the daily required amount of this vitamin.

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Vitamin D & Arthritis:

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Vitamin D deficiency may be related to rheumatic disease, like arthritis, as well. A doctor at a rheumatology clinic checked 231 patients for vitamin D deficiency and discovered that 70% of them had a low level, and 26% of them were severely deficient. But this is just a remark and the real impact of vitamin D deficiency on rheumatic disease is still ambiguous. Furthermore, the effect of taking vitamin D supplements and increasing vitamin D levels on the symptoms is not yet defined.

Remember that patients with rheumatic arthritis lack sun exposure, since they stay indoors quite often. Likewise, elderly, homebound and dark-skinned people are likely to have low levels of vitamin D -dark skin absorbs less sunlight.

Feel free to share your views in the comments!

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Being a Clinical Pharmacist, and have worked on the dementia floor in a nursing home, I was tasked with the Medication Management of around 30-40 patients. I had a goal of reducing meds intake, 6 or less meds per patient. I was given free reign by house physicians ( that monitored the patients, per review of charts nightly). After reviewing frequent blood draws and observation physically , I would adjust dosages, or delete meds accordingly, especially atypical psychotics and sedatives needed for aggressive patients. I ordered Vitamin D for EVERY patient present. Progress was seen in different areas within days. Alertness, interest in participation, strength , better gait , pain lessened, and less aggression, and quality of life was seen variably seen in almost ALL the patients present . Vit D was considered a wonder drug by the care givers.

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