The food we eat provides us with vitamins that the body is responsible for assimilating so that our body works correctly. All vitamins are essential since the organs need them to carry out their corresponding functions. When there is a deficiency in any of them, the body suffers and our health worsens. Such is the case of vitamin D deficiency. Check below the health risks that a deficiency of this vitamin so essential for our health can cause.
Vitamin D is of vital importance for the assimilation and use of the minerals that reach our body. This vitamin is the one that participates in the assimilation of calcium and phosphorus.
When we are exposed to sunlight, the body produces vitamin D.
5 health risks caused by a lack of vitamin D
Today we want to talk about the 5 health risks caused by a lack of vitamin D.
1. Bone problems
Vitamin D is necessary for the assimilation of calcium, so a lack of it will harm our bones, since calcium and phosphorus are two essential minerals for the formation of bones.
In this way, if during childhood, in the growing season, there is not enough vitamin D available, the bones will not develop correctly and will lead to rickets, a disease in which the bones are deformed since vitamin D acts directly on the growth of bones
But having strong bones is essential throughout our lives. In the elderly, a lack of vitamin D will lead to osteoporosis where the bones become weak and break easily.
2. Autoimmune diseases
Vitamin D stimulates the immune system that is in charge of fighting pathogens. So, a vitamin D deficiency is related to the risk of developing autoimmune diseases.
In these cases, the body's response is contrary to the usual and attacks its own cells and organs. Such is the case of multiple sclerosis where the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, or type 1 diabetes where the immune system destroys the cells responsible for producing insulin.
There is also lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own organs and tissues.
It is frequently associated with vitamin D deficiency, in part because lupus patients are often advised to stay out of the sun (the source of 90% of our vitamin D), and may be prescribed corticosteroids, which are also related. with low levels of D.
A recent research review suggested that correcting vitamin deficiencies in lupus patients could help lessen the severity of their disease.
3. Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, and lead to an increased ability to suffer from cardiovascular disease and an increased risk for heart attacks.
Heart disease and vitamin D deficiency are known to go hand in hand. A sobering 2009 study found that subjects with extremely low levels of vitamin D were nearly three times more likely to die from heart failure and five times more likely to die from sudden cardiac death.
However, experts say there is no evidence of a direct link between higher vitamin D levels and reduced cardiovascular risk, so it's too early to say whether taking supplements could improve heart health.
4. Propensity to get cancer
Vitamin D increases the self-destruction of mutated cells that, if they reproduce, lead to cancer. Because it acts on cancer cells, negatively affecting their reproduction.
Breast cancer: For example, some recent evidence has suggested a link between higher levels of vitamin D and a lower risk of breast cancer - a meta-analysis, for example, found that a small increase in vitamin D levels could reduce the risk for postmenopausal women by 12%.
Other studies, on the other hand, have found that blood levels of vitamin D are not related to breast cancer. A new randomized trial, the VITAL study, looks at the effects of higher doses of vitamin D on both heart disease and cancer; those results will provide better answers on whether and how it may affect risk.
Pancreatic cancer: People with the highest levels of vitamin D were 35% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those with the lowest levels, according to a 20-year study of nearly 120,000 people by researchers at Brigham Hospital and Women's in Massachusetts.
And in exciting news for this deadly form of cancer, researchers are studying how a modified form of vitamin D can help "turn off" a certain type of cell that fuels pancreatic tumour growth, making tumours more vulnerable to disease. chemotherapy treatment.
Prostate Cancer: Low levels of vitamin D were associated with more advanced and aggressive prostate tumours in biopsy patients in a 2014 study in Clinical Cancer Research; Among African American men, low vitamin D was also associated with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer in the first place.
A small pilot study from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston found that when prostate cancer patients received 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day for 60 days, 60% of them showed improvement in their tumors; Another study is underway to determine if those results can be replicated on a larger scale.
5. Chronic pain
The causes of muscle pain are often difficult to identify. There is some evidence that vitamin D deficiency can be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults.
In one study, 71% of people with chronic pain were found to be deficient. The vitamin D receptor is present on nerve cells called nociceptors, which sense pain.
A study in rats showed that a deficiency caused pain and tenderness due to the stimulation of nociceptors in the muscles.
Some studies have found that taking high-dose vitamin D supplements can reduce various types of pain in deficient people.
A study of 120 vitamin D-deficient children who had growing pains found that a single dose of the vitamin lowered pain scores by an average of 57%.
There are many different ways that blood sugar (glucose levels in the blood) can be affected and may cause problems with sugar control in people with diabetes. Each person reacts differently to a variety of things that influence blood sugar. People with diabetes should be aware of certain compounds and activities that influence blood sugar levels.