Wellness Dentistry: Is Your Vitamin D Going Down the Drain?
Vitamin supplements are words that are generically thrown around in today’s society. You can get them at grocery stores, pharmacies and health markets. How do you know how much of each vitamin you should need and which vitamins are vital to your health? Each week I will be highlighting a new vitamin or supplement that will aid in your overall health and immunity. This weeks focus is on Vitamin D.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services3, vitamin D is essential for the “formation, growth, and repair of bones and for normal calcium absorption and immune function.”
It is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous, which have various functions, especially the maintenance of healthy bones.
■ It is an immune system regulator.
■ Aids the immune system– vitamin D may be an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like the common cold, say scientists from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston.
■ Evidence has demonstrated that vitamin D deficiency may place people at risk for not only low mineral bone density/osteoporosis and osteopenia but also infectious and chronic inflammatory diseases. Studies have shown an association between low bone density, osteoporosis and tooth loss and suggest that low bone mass may be a risk factor for periodontal disease.
■ MS risk – it may reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is much less common the nearer you get to the tropics, where there is much more sunlight, according to Dennis Bourdette, chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center at Oregon Health and Science University, USA.
■ Maintaining cognitive functions – vitamin D may play a key role in helping the brain keep working well in later life, according to a study of 3000 European men between the ages of 40 and 79.
■ Healthy body weight– vitamin D probably plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body weight, according to research carried out at the Medical College of Georgia, USA.
■ Asthma symptoms and frequency – it can reduce the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms, and also the likelihood of hospitalizations due to asthma, researchers from Harvard Medical School found after monitoring 616 children in Costa Rica.
■ Rheumatoid arthritis– it has been shown to reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women.
■ Protects from radiation damage – a form of vitamin D could be one of our body’s main protections against damage from low levels of radiation, say radiological experts from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
■ Vitamin D and cancer risk– various studies have shown that people with adequate levels of vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of developing cancer, compared to those whose levels are low. Vitamin D deficiency was found to be prevalent in cancer patients regardless of nutritional status in a study carried out by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
■ T.B. recovery– high vitamin D doses can help people recover from tuberculosis more rapidly, researchers reported in September 2012 in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
■ Heart attack risk– an study published in September 2012 suggested that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of heart attack and early death.
As you can see, there are many benefits from the proper dosage of vitamin D. How much vitamin D do you need?
Levels differ greatly depending on your health, age and other factors. For the best gage of how much you should be intaking ask your doctor to test your level of vitamin D at your next appointment. This can be done with a routine blood test.