(NaturalNews) The health benefits of vitamin D are undeniable. A vitamin D deficiency can cause all sorts of health problems, including many kinds of cancers, osteoporosis, depression, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular issues and more. Many health issues can be prevented by getting an adequate amount of vitamin D.
Many Americans Vitamin D Deficient
Given the incredible importance of this vitamin, it may surprise some people to learn that, according to statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics (as reported in an article in USA Today by Mary Brophy Marcus), as many as 36% of all Americans are deficient in vitamin D. The article also notes that one doctor, Dr. Tanya Edwards, found that 95% of her patients were vitamin D deficient, including people in their twenties and thirties.
Not All People Can Convert Sunlight to Vitamin D
Some people may have read articles saying that the body will manufacture its own vitamin D, given sensible sunlight exposure. While this may be true for very healthy individuals, it's clearly not the case for many people. According to an article in Life Extension Magazine by William Faloon, a medical study concluded that vitamin D levels can be low in people who have quite substantial exposure to sunlight.
The study was conducted by University of Wisconsin researchers on people who lived in sunny Hawaii. The participants in the study spent an average of 11.1 hours in the sunlight per week. It is important to note that none of the participants in the study used any type of sunscreen.
Even though the people in this study received a great deal of sunlight exposure, 51% of them turned out to be deficient in vitamin D. This study supports other research, concluding that as the body ages, its ability to convert sunlight to vitamin D through the skin lessens. Therefore, the only way people can be sure of adequate vitamin D levels is to be tested. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, also reports that chronic levels of vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight, and it may take months of supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body's bones and nervous system.
Obese People at Risk
Dr. Michael Hollick, as reported in an article in MedicalConsumers.org, notes that obese people are often vitamin D deficient. This is because these people store vitamin D in large amounts of body fat where it becomes inaccessible. Given this fact, it is no surprise in light of the current obesity epidemic that so many people are deficient in vitamin D.
Even Doctors Deficient in Vitamin D
Whether people get their vitamin D from sunlight, vitamin supplements, foods rich in vitamin D, or some combination of these sources, there is no good reason for anyone to ignore the body's need for this vital nutrient. By the way, people shouldn't wait for the doctor to suggest vitamin D levels be tested. As Dr. Michael Hollick concluded after conducting a study at the Boston Medical Center in 2002 (as reported by MedicalConsumers.org), 32% of students and doctors between 18 and 29 were found to be vitamin D deficient.
About the author
Joanne Waldron is a computer scientist with a passion for writing and sharing health-related news and information with others. She hosts the Naked Wellness: The Gentle Health Revolution forum, which is devoted to achieving radiant health, well-being, and longevity.