By: Radhika Bajaj
With spring just rounding the corner and the time of bright sunny days approaching, it’s the end for vitamin D season. Over the past few years many dietitians and doctors have expressed the need for people to take vitamin D supplements. This is especially true in Vancouver during October to March when the days are gloomy and sun sets very early. But why do doctors emphasize the need for vitamin D? Who needs it the most?
Why Do We Need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is used in our body to absorb nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus. These nutrients then help us in bone development and disease fighting. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency, can result in soft bones in children called rickets or misshapen bones in adults called osteomalacia. Surprisingly, vitamin D also has been seen to have an important role in respect to the immune system, blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, depression, weight loss and so many more! One study found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency colon, breast, and ovarian cancer.
Sources of Vitamin D
You may be thinking, “Now I know how important vitamin D is, but how can I get vitamin D?” Usually, sunlight helps our body to produce vitamin D to carry out many functions. However, that is why during fall and winter when there is no sun, doctors recommend people to take vitamin D supplements or pills. Other sources of vitamin D include foods such as oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolk, and fortified milk and yogurt.
Who Needs it?
People who spend most of their time indoors, living in polluted cities, or living in industrialized cities (with large buildings) could possibly vitamin D deficient as sunlight is blocked. Furthermore, people with darker skin pigmentation absorb less vitamin D due to higher levels of melanin.
There are many processes our bodies undergo, yet, we carry along without noticing them. One of these processes is producing vitamin D. Now you know how important your doctor’s advice is to take vitamin D. But don’t panic and take too much vitamin D! Too much can harm you so know what your need is.