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Five Fast Facts About Vitamin D

Vitamin D, also known as "The Sunshine Vitamin," is necessary for many functions that keep your body healthy and happy. Unfortunately, at least 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D. Here’s everything you need to know about Vitamin D: what it is, why you need it, and how to get it.

1) Your Body Obtains Vitamin D from Multiple Sources.

Your body can synthesize Vitamin D several ways. First, your skin can produce Vitamin D when it’s exposed to the ultraviolet rays found in natural sunlight. Second, your kidneys and liver can metabolize several compounds to create Vitamin D. And lastly, your digestive tract can absorb it as it breaks down food or nutritional supplements that contain Vitamin D.

2) Vitamin D is Necessary for Several Important Functions.

Vitamin D helps bones absorb calcium, which lowers the risk of osteoporosis, rickets and fractures. It can prevent depression and neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. It can lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. And it’s been shown to decrease the risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer.

3) There Are Several Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency.

Because the main source of Vitamin D is from skin exposure to sunshine, people who are homebound, live in cooler climates or wear clothing that covers most of their skin surface area are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency. Also, people with darker skin tend to produce lower amounts of Vitamin D than lighter-skinned people.

Because Vitamin D is also absorbed from the intestines, people with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease, and people who have had gastric bypass surgery are more likely to be Vitamin D deficient.

4) Vitamin D Deficiency is Treatable.

Vitamin D deficiency is easily diagnosed with a blood test. Patients who are found to be Vitamin D deficient are treated with a high dose of Vitamin D for 6-8 weeks. Once their levels return to normal, they’re given a lower maintenance dose to prevent a future Vitamin D deficiency.

5) There are Several Ways to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D.

One of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy Vitamin D level is to get 15-20 minutes of sun exposure every day on at least 40% of your skin surface area. (Just make sure to apply sunscreen or sun-protective clothing after that to avoid the risk of skin cancer from too much sun exposure.) You can also get Vitamin D through supplements, egg yolks, fortified milk, and fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon.

We're Here to Help.

At GoHealth Urgent Care, we offer on-site blood draws for most patients. If you’d like to have your Vitamin D level checked and can’t get into to see your Primary Care doctor, or if you need care for an illness or injury, click below to save your spot:

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/the-truth-about-vitamin-d-why-you-need-vitamin-d

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6075634/

https://medlineplus.gov/vitaminddeficiency.html

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods

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