Last week, my doctor read the results from a routine blood test and reported that I was deficient in vitamin D. That puzzled me because I live in the sunshine state, how could I possibly be deficient in vitamin D? I use sunscreen to protect myself from UV rays and try to stay in the shade as often as possible. Still, I assumed I was exposed to the sun often enough to have normal Vitamin D levels. Apparently, I was wrong.
According to ScienceDaily, "a new study adds to the mounting evidence that older adults commonly have low vitamin D levels and that vitamin D inadequacy may be a risk factor for the metabolic syndrome," a condition that increases the risk of diabetes.
Low levels of vitamin D can affect other areas of your body as well. Below are six reasons to have your doctor check your levels of Vitamin D.
1. Your brain: You may think your foggy brain is due to estrogen loss during and after menopause but it could also be from low levels of vitamin D. Studies have found that vitamin D deficiency can cause memory and attention difficulties.
2. Your weight: Studies have found that postmenopausal women who were taking 400 IU vitamin D plus 1,000 mg calcium daily were less likely to gain weight than those taking the placebo.
3. Your heart: Research shows the low levels of Vitamin D can put women over 50 in danger of having a heart attack, stroke, or congestive heart failure.
4. Central nervous system: Studies in Finland report low levels of Vitamin D increases the threat of Parkinson’s disease, however, high levels may protect against the devastating illness.
5. Your bones: The international osteoporosis foundation says 600-800 IU of Vitamin D per day for women over 50 can increase bone strength and prevents breaks.
6. Your mood: Low levels of vitamin D can bring on depression or increase depression for women who already suffer with the condition.
How do we increase our vitamin D?
1. Food: salmon, tuna, and mackerel are a good source of Vitamin D as well as beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. Also, look for cereals and milk with added vitamin D, says the Office of Dietary Supplements, a divsion of the National Institutes of Health.