If you are wondering what causes low vitamin D levels, you can find some answers here. Vitamin D is a pro-hormone, produced in the skin of humans and animals. Two major forms of vitamin D are known as D2 and D3. The first one (vitamin D2) is actually produced by fungi.
Vitamin D3 is used in treating vitamin D deficiency (and other problems caused by it). This type of vitamin D is considered very effective, and it can be used for preventing diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, etc.
This vitamin takes part in many important processes, such as absorption of phosphorus and calcium, and bone mineralization. In fact, growth and development of bones in the human body would be impossible without vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to serious bone deformities (called “rickets”, or “osteomalacia” in adults). Vitamin D deficiency can cause various complications, such as weakness, constant fatigue, pain in muscles, and bone fractures. Long-term deficiency can lead to depression, osteoporosis, increased cholesterol levels in blood and hypertension.
Vitamin D may be used for cancer prevention. Several researches have shown that vitamin D can be helpful in reducing the risk of prostate cancer (in men) and breast cancer (in women).
To prevent vitamin D deficiency, you have to know its causes.
What Are The Causes of Low Vitamin D Levels?
Low levels of vitamin D can be caused by several factors.
Limited Exposure to Sunrays
● As we know, vitamin D is produced in the skin, during the sun exposure. To get enough vitamin D, you need to spend nearly 20 minutes in the sun, 3 times a week (minimum). If you are dark-skinned, you need to spend more time in the sun (more than thirty minutes), because more time is needed for dark skin to produce vitamin D. In case you are housebound, or you live in a country where the weather is cold all the time, you may lack vitamin D.
If the sun is too strong, you should avoid it because you can get skin burns. However, you can go outside in the morning or in the afternoon (after 5 pm) and expose your skin to healthy sunrays. Babies should not be exposed to UV radiation because their skin is too sensitive. Talk to your baby’s doctor about vitamin D supplements for your baby. Babies who are exclusively breast-fed may lack vitamin D. Mother’s milk contains very important nutrients, but it does not contain enough vitamin D. Therefore, mothers are advised to give their babies both formula milk and breast milk.
● Malnutrition can be one of the contributing factors, when it comes to vitamin D deficiency. In both children and adults, poor diet can affect vitamin D levels. Vegetarians are at risk, because they don’t eat animal-derived foods. Vitamin D is contained in foods like animal meat, fish oil, milk products and egg yolk. If you don’t consume these foods, you may lack vitamin D.
● Some illnesses (and some medications) can cause vitamin D deficiency.
● Dark skin is one of such factors. People who have dark skin type can have low levels of vitamin D (especially if they live in cold climates), because their skin needs more time to synthesize this vitamin.
● Obesity is another risk factor. Excessive body fat can prevent the body from using vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is not difficult to prevent – if you know the risk factors. If you believe you are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin D, ask your doctor about the best way to keep your vitamin D levels normal.