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Are You D-ficient?

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Shealy Register
Are You D-ficient?

Getting enough vitamin D is essential for your health. Vitamin D helps your body build and maintain strong bones. Without enough vitamin D in your diet, your body can't absorb the essential minerals it needs. 

Most people get plenty of vitamin D from the food they eat and from exposure to the sun, which naturally helps your body produce the vitamin. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 4 people in the United States have inadequate vitamin D levels, compromising bone health and general wellness. 

"Vitamin D deficiency seems to be on the rise, and it can be especially harmful to children and senior citizens," said Jackson Hatfield, MD, primary care physician at Archbold Primary Care - Thomasville. 

You Could Be At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Elderly adults have a high risk of vitamin D deficiency. As you get older, your skin doesn't produce as much vitamin D from sunlight. People of any age with darker skin may also have an increased likelihood of being vitamin D deficient because they naturally do not produce as much of the nutrient. Babies who breastfeed are also at risk, as breast milk does not contain much vitamin D. 

While many adults are not likely to have vitamin D deficiency until they get older, certain medical conditions can increase your risk, including: 

  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Obesity

Additionally, common medications for conditions such as high cholesterol, HIV and seizures can reduce your body's ability to metabolize vitamin D. 

How To Make Sure You Get Enough Vitamin D

Fill your menu with cheese, eggs, fortified milk and cereals, mushrooms, and fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. Adults and children should average 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D daily, and seniors older than age 70 should have 800 IU daily. 

"Taking a daily dose of vitamin D, either in a multivitamin or alone, may be helpful for some people, especially older adults," said Stephen Rubendall, MD, primary care physician at Archbold Primary Care - Camilla. "But if you eat a healthy diet and spend some time outside most days, you might not need a supplement."

too much vitamin D can actually be toxic and cause symptoms such as constipation and nausea. Your body won't overproduce vitamin D on its own, so toxicity is usually from taking too many supplements. 

"TaLk fo your Archbold provider about blood testing to see if you're actually deficient before starting any large doses of vitamins," said Dr. Rubendall. 

Other Common Nutrient Deficiencies

A lack of Vitamin D isn't the only frequently seen dietary shortage. Other common nutrient deficiencies include: 

  • Calcium: Too little calcium can affect bone strength, but it can also be bad for your muscles and your heart.
  • Iron: A lack of iron can cause anemia, making you extremely tired. Women are more likely to develop anemia, partially due to menstruation. 
  • Vitamin D: Some people are vitamin B12 deficient, while others have a deficiency in vitamin B6 and folate (a type of B vitamin). A lack of these vitamins can affect your nerves and make you tired and forgetful. And too little folate can cause birth defects if you are pregnant. 

A healthy diet and a daily multivitamin can prevent nutrient deficiencies for many people. Your Archbold primary care provider can best advise you on whether supplements or dietary changes could benefit you. 

Looking for more information on vitamins A to D and beyond? Schedule an appointment with an Archbold primary care provider at Primary Care Medical Services in Thomasville | Archbold.