Would you believe that the majority of the population- up to 90% of adults in the United States- is believed to have a Vitamin D deficiency? Many physicians are starting to take this vitamin deficiency very seriously; in fact Vitamin D is one of the most recommended supplements by physicians today.
Most adults are believed to be at least somewhat deficient in Vitamin D, however, people with dark skin, who live in northern regions of the world where less year-round sun exposure is experienced, and those who are overweight have an even greaterchance to be deficient.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the newest statistics demonstrate that more than 90% of people with darker skin pigments (Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians) living in the United States now suffer from Vitamin D insufficiency, while 75% of the white population is deficient. (1)
As the population of overweight and obese adults and children has risen steadily over the past several decades, so has the incidence of Vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Sadly, this Vitamin D deficiency is correlated with increased risks of developing common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and various infectious diseases too. (2)
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver and fatty tissues. This means that increased body fat has the ability to absorb Vitamin D and keep it from being used within our body. Vitamin D is somewhat different than other vitamins because our body makes most of our Vitamin D on its own, rather than solely relying on food sources.
The way that our bodies make Vitamin D is to convert sunshine into chemicals that are used by the body. The cholesterol in our skin converts “previtamin D” and makes it into usable vitamin D3 which is sometimes also called provitamin D (3). Previtamin Ds first travels through the kidneys and liver in the blood stream, and then is converted into a biologically active and usable substance called calcitriol.
Vitamin D actually becomes a hormone within our body, particularly a secosteroid hormone. What we know as Vitamin D is really a precursor to a steroid hormone. It impacts not only our skeletal structure, but also our blood pressure, immunity, mood, brain function, and ability to protect ourselves from cancer. (4)