Why Is Vitamin D Important? The importance of natural health and the use of natural products for good bones
Researchers at the Westmead Hospital gestational diabetes clinic tested 147 pregnant women between February 2007 and February 2008 for Vitamin D deficiency. Excluding known glucose-intolerant women from the study, the researchers found that 41% of the women had low levels of vitamin D. They noted that darker skinned women were more prone to the deficiency than lighter skinned women, but emphasized that the deficiency occurred in 25% of women of all skin types. Some of the consequences of vitamin D deficiency to the child include:
- Weakened bone density (osteoporosis).
- Low neonatal (new born) vitamin D and calcium levels.
- Rickets: Rickets is a childhood soft or weak bone disorder. It can result in deformed bones or bones that are easily fractured.
The study concluded that because of the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and the risks to the developing infant, it should be treated as “an issue of public health significance.” In an editorial published with the Medical Journal of Australia report, University of Melbourne Professor Peter Ebeling went on to say, “Those pregnant and breastfeeding women that are most at risk of vitamin D deficiency are often the least likely to be able to afford supplements” and recommended that more affordable vitamin D supplements in higher dosages should be made available. He also noted that women with a higher risk of gestational diabetes were frequently those who were the least able to afford this important vitamin supplement.
Vitamin D’s main function in the body is to help maintain adequate blood levels of the important minerals, phosphorous and calcium. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential to the development and maintenance of strong bones. Natural sources of vitamin D include fish and eggs. Higher concentrations of vitamin D are found in cod liver oil.
We get most of our vitamin D from exposure to the sun. Usually 10 to 15 minutes exposure to the face and forearms a few times a week is sufficient to maintain healthy levels of the vitamin in most people, but as the study indicates, there are occasions when deficiencies occur.
Aside from the serious risk vitamin D deficiency poses in pregnant women, other high risk groups include the elderly, the obese and those who have little exposure to the sun, such as night shift workers.
Sources: Medical Journal of Australia, Medical News Today, Mayoclinic.com