Why has low Vitamin D suddenly become an epidemic?
One of the common threads running through my clients and their health issues is the fact that 80% of them are suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency. The media and doctors are putting it down to “not getting enough sunlight” – which is partially true. However, there is more at play here than just sunlight. I thought it was high time someone spoke about it and educated you on Vitamin D, and why it’s just not the sun that we need to make and absorb this important vitamin in our bodies.
Top 10 reasons on what do normal levels of Vitamin D do for you?
- Absorb calcium in our body
- Maintains phosphorus levels (critical for the bones)
- Promotes bone mineralization along with other vitamins, minerals and hormones
- Reduces the incidence of cancer and heart disease
- Helps with weight loss
- Reduces muscle fatigue
- Reduces skin disorders
- Keeps up your immunity
- Helps combat depression
- Combats type II diabetes
Why is this deficiency occurring?
The kidneys play a crucial role in converting vitamin D to be used for the body. Most of the people in this city are suffering from "adrenal fatigue". Simply put, they drink loads of tea/coffee, barely get enough sleep, live on processed food daily and eat way too much salt. The adrenal glands which sit on top of your kidneys regulate the stress response – they play a huge role in regulating your immunity and in this case by keeping them in good condition, you increase your chances of absorbing vitamin D. Support your adrenals by getting enough rest, cutting back sugar in your diet and this includes processed foods, eating a diet of plant-based foods: vegetables, whole grain, legumes and minimize stimulants like alcohol, coffee and tea.
Your gut –
Most people are also suffering from stomach issues and vitamin D is not absorbed if this is going on. The body has to break down the fats in the foods, to absorb vitamin D, since the vitamin D remains dissolved in the fat during digestion. In a diarrhoea or colitis condition wherein, the stools just pass through the intestines prevent the absorption of this fat-soluble vitamin. At such times it is helpful to have a sound liver function as the body will rely on vitamin D stores from the liver. If however, you have a weak liver, then the body will not be getting its required dose of vitamin D. Some people who are used to taking oil to lubricate their bowels if constipated, also prevent the absorption of this vitamin. Any oil will collect the vitamin D in your intestines, preventing absorption. Overuse of oil as a laxative, may also be the cause for your low vitamin D levels.
Inability to absorb fat –
For those people who suffer from weak constitutions (this would happen to people with a pancreatic deficiency, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, surgical removal of the stomach or liver disease. A typical symptom would be diarrhoea and greasy stools) and have inability to absorb fat in their diets (this would apply to people on low-fat diets), taking extra doses of vitamin D would be helpful, as it is a fat-soluble vitamin and adding some good quality oil to their diet like cold pressed sesame, flax or extra virgin olive to help absorb vitamin D.
The magnesium connection –
We need vitamin D for efficient calcium utilization. Magnesium plays a huge role in the effective utilization of calcium and vitamin D. It is responsible for the stimulation of 'calcitonin' a hormone which increases calcium in our bones – we get magnesium out of: soybeans, mung, black beans (kaala rajma); whole grains particularly buckwheat (kuttu), all millets (ragi, jovar, nachni, bajra); nuts and seeds especially sesame seeds and all foods high on chlorophyll like spirulina, wheat grass and leafy greens have magnesium at their centre and have cofactors like Vitamin A, C and phosphorus [all required for calcium and vitamin D utilization]; chocolate (most chocoholics have a magnesium-deficient diet and crave magnesium – therefore crave chocolate), a word of caution here: chocolates contain theobromine a caffeine-like substance and is high on oxalic acid (chemical substance causing calcium oxalate crystals leading to kidney stones and binds with calcium preventing absorption). If used habitually, it inhibits overall mineralization in the body. Look for a good dark chocolate.
Reduce phytic acid in grains and legumes –
Phytic acid found in grains and legumes, binds with calcium/vitamin D making it unusable. Soaking grains and legumes will aid in neutralizing the phytic acid.