(Natural News) Of course you want strong bones, a reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. An upbeat mood and healthier lungs are just as great.
Enter vitamin D, one of your best bets in achieving overall wellness. But there’s a hitch. Getting vitamin D is no walk in the park.
A study of 937 children whose ages ranged from nine to 12 pointed to low vitamin D supply as one of the reasons why school children in Iran were thrice as likely to suffer from anemia compared to their healthier counterparts. The study found that low vitamin D levels were seen in 96.8 percent of the children, compared to 91.5 percent in the non-anemic group. This made the Iranian researchers conclude that vitamin D plays a role in the formation of iron in the body. This is essential in carrying oxygen in the blood and in keeping our organs healthy.
The study involved children in 60 primary schools in Iran. Its accuracy was tested through various medical examinations and blood sampling methods.
The Iranian study reinforces an earlier one made in 2013 at the John Hopkins Children’s Center. Results showed that blood samples of children with low hemoglobin content also exhibited vitamin D insufficiency. The highest anemia risk was seen in cases of mild vitamin D deficiency.
Another proof that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk for anemia is the observation that milk fortified with vitamin D eliminated the incidence of anemia entirely.
Anemic children need all the help they can get because they could suffer from slow growth, muscle weakness, skeletal deformities and other problems. Untreated anemia can lead to organ failure and frequent fractures. A deficiency in the said vitamin can also lead to adult ailments like osteoporosis, certain cancers, and heart disease.
The need for vitamin D became even more urgent after Althea Zanecosky, American Dietetic Association spokesperson stated that the amount of sunshine between October to May is not enough to give the body the vitamin D it needs. This explains why a University of Maine study found that almost half of those tested for vitamin D by the end of winter had low levels of the sunshine vitamin.
This is a cause for concern because vitamin D deficiency can open a Pandora’s box of illnesses.
- It can make you depressed, because the hippocampus and other parts of the brain that control mood have vitamin D receptors.
- It can lower your chances of surviving cancer. Cancer patients with higher vitamin D levels improve their chances of recovery by four percent. Patients with more vitamin D also stay in remission longer.
- Men increase their risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Insufficient vitamin D is also associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Sixty two percent of psoriatic arthritis patients were found wanting in vitamin D.
- Those with a vitamin D deficiency raised their risk of having a heart disease by 32 percent. They’re also more prone to pneumonia, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.
- Just as scary are studies that show that people who don’t have enough vitamin D may die sooner than others who don’t have the said problem.
- A 2009 study at the University of Manchester in England showed that those with lower vitamin D had a “slower cognitive processing speed.”
Researchers say vitamin D protects the aging brain and boosts memory. It raises the levels of protective antioxidants, raising key hormones and suppressing a hyperactive immune system that can disturb our body’s neurological functions.