Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D Deficiency
Although the COVID-19 virus has been a major issue since last year, we cannot neglect other health issues present within the community – particularly the Black and Hispanic people within our communities.
Just like how the coronavirus has disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic people, vitamin D deficiency has done the same.
What is Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is the lack of vitamin D in the body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control nutrition report, the lack of vitamin D is more prevalent in people who are Black or Hispanic. Thirty-one percent of Black people and 12% of Hispanics were found to lack the vitamin. This is in comparison to only 3.2% of White people that were also vitamin D deficient.
The main source of vitamin D comes from the sun. Our bodies convert the sunlight into vitamin D. According to this study done by Cooper Institute, “people with darker skin pigmentation, like African-Americans, are at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency because the higher presence of melanin reduces the body’s ability to produce vitamin D.”
Two other results the Cooper Institute found were that “African-American men and women with moderate or high fitness levels were 45% less likely to have vitamin D deficiency than those with low fitness levels. Additionally, obese African-American men and women were 70% more likely to have vitamin D deficiency than those who were normal weight.”
Why is Vitamin D important to the body?
Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients that the body needs to be healthy and function properly. According to the National Institutes of Health, the vitamin helps the body in a number of ways:
- Helps you absorb calcium, which in turn helps you have strong bones.
- Helps your immune system fight off infections.
- Gives you energy.
With a lack of this vitamin, you are not getting everything you need to be strong and healthy.
What are the sources of Vitamin D?
As stated above, one of the largest sources of vitamin D is the sun, however it may not be one of the main sources for Black and Hispanic people.
There are different ways you can get vitamin D other than the sun. The National Institutes of Health states that the best source of vitamin D would be in the “flesh of fat toy fish.” Examples include trout, salmon, and tuna. Vegetables are also a good source, especially mushrooms.
You can also get sufficient amounts of vitamin D by taking the supplement. These are usually available over the counter or online unless it’s a stronger dose, which you will need a prescription for. Most people who are vitamin D deficient will need the presence option vitamin D supplement.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
When your body does not have enough vitamin D, it will give you different signals to tell you that something is wrong. According to Unity Point Health, some signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Bone pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Sour mood
- Low energy
- More frequent illness
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
Not being treated for this deficiency can worsen the symptoms and also lead to other chronic diseases like cancer and kidney disease.
Why worry about your vitamin D levels?
Vitamin D is an essential mineral that keeps you and your body healthy, while also giving you energy for daily activities.
I, myself, am vitamin D deficient. I’ve been dealing with the condition for a while, and it has affected my daily life. I am always tired, and I’ve noticed that I’ve been more susceptible to other illnesses as well. If I hadn’t taken charge of my health, I would most likely feel a lot worse.
It is very important for people to take care of their health, especially Black people since they are already predisposed to these diseases and illnesses.
Take charge, treat yourself and your body with care.