Vitamin D is important because it is central to the metabolism of calcium in the promotion of bone growth and in the formation and maintenance of bone strength. There is also research to suggest that Vitamin D is associated with depression, and one potential implication of this finding is that if you spend less time out in the sun, there is a reasonable chance you are increasing your risk of depression by reducing your exposure to sunlight.
Additionally, there has been some interesting studies done that suggest Vitamin D has a role in immune modulation. For example, there are links that have been observed between the frequency of the development of multiple sclerosis and the amount of sun exposure, such that the incidence of multiple sclerosis is greater as you move further and further north or south of the equator.
Other factors that have been identified as being associated with Vitamin D deficiency are obesity, lighter skin pigmentation, being a woman, and older age. From a cardiac perspective, there is some work that suggests that Vitamin D is associated with the modulation of the lipid profile, and it also appears to have a role in potential deposition of calcium within the arteries during the development of atherosclerosis, and it appears that not having enough Vitamin D is the problem.
Also, there has been some research that has looked at the side effects of statins and a condition called myalgia. This is the term given to the general aches and pains that are felt in the muscles, which are not dissimilar to flu-like symptoms that some people report as a side-effect of statin therapy.
Though there is no conclusive evidence that Vitamin D has an impact on these symptoms, there is certainly some suggestion that Vitamin D might reduce the risk of statin-related aches and pains. Therefore, with the suggested impacts and effects of Vitamin D deficiency, it’s probably a good reminder that we all ensure we get our dose of Vitamin D via safe exposure to the sun on a regular basis.
Sun block, hats and gloves out in the garden won’t suffice; you need to make a concerted effort to present back, chest, abdomen or legs to the sun to allow exposure, but at the same time, avoid sunburn. While the body naturally produces Vitamin D after exposure to the sun, Vitamin D is also found in some foods, including fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, as well as some dairy and grain products.
Of course, there are numerous Vitamin D supplements available to purchase from your local pharmacy. Given that adequate Vitamin D has such an important impact on your health, it is certainly worth having your Vitamin D levels checked by your doctor.
At the end of the day, Vitamin D is free, so make the most of it!