It should not surprise you that Vitamin D deficiency is almost become epidemic. For a country that gets abundant sunlight mostly through the year, it’s strange to find a substantial part of our population being diagnosed with it.
Before the year 2000, very few doctors ever considered the possibility that you might be Vitamin D deficient. But as the expertise to measure Vitamin D became economical and accessible, more research is being done on it. It’s become increasingly clear that Vitamin D deficiency is widespread.
According to one of the leading Vitamin D researchers, Dr. Michael Holick: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that one third percent children are Vitamin D deficient — and this is completely undervalued as they used Vitamin D levels that were not consistent with optimal health. Researchers such as Dr. Holick estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 50 percent of children aged one to five years, and 70 percent of children between the ages of six and 11, are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D.
Researchers have also noted that Vitamin D deficiency is predominant in adults of all ages who have extensive work hours in the indoors or always wear sun protection (which blocks Vitamin D production) or limit their outdoor activities. Also senior citizens are at a higher risk of the deficiency not only as they tend to spend a lot of time indoors but also they produce about 30 percent less Vitamin D than a younger person with the same sun exposure.
Scrawny muscles and poor bone density are some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. But there are chances that lack of this vitamin can cause asthma in children, cognitive impairment at an older age, intolerance to glucose and multiple sclerosis. Quite serious illnesses, but they can be prevented.
However, it is an established fact that cod liver oil, fish and eggs are the best sources to provide adequate Vitamin D. What does one to when it comes to vegetarians?
There are two forms of Vitamin D that are commonly found as a supplement or in foods, Vitamin D2, also known as aergocalciferol, and Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol.
Two different forms of Vitamin D are used in supplements and fortified foods. Vitamin D2, also called ergocalciferol, is manufactured through the ultraviolet irradiation of a substance called ergosterol that comes from yeast. Vitamin D2 is vegan.
Is inadequate Vitamin D a worry for vegetarians?
Any person, whether vegetarian or not, who does not include good sources of Vitamin D in his or her diet or take Vitamin D supplements can be at risk for not getting adequate vitamin D, especially if sunlight exposure is limited. Vitamin D is crucial to your body’s ability to absorb calcium and form, extend and repair bones. As it does not occur naturally in many foods, your main sources of vitamin D are sunlight and fortified foods. With the exception of fish, fish oils and animal organs, most major sources of vitamin D are vegetarian-friendly. By regularly eating fortified foods and getting adequate exposure to sunlight, you can easily obtain a high vitamin D intake on a vegetarian diet.
Here’s vegetarian friendly diet to absorb all the Vitamin D goodness:
- Milk – Skimmed milk, goat milk, whole milk, partly skimmed milk, fortified plant milk like soymilk, almond milk and oat milk.
- Vegetarian Desserts – Cheese soufflé, cream puff, éclair, lemon pudding, custard, caramel custard, homemade pancakes, caramel sundae, apple strudel, vanilla ice cream, sweet roll, cinnamon with raisins, strawberry sundae, waffle, lemon meringue pie, rice pudding
- Fortified Foods – Breakfast cereals, juices and margarine, fortified orange juice, oatmeals
- Dairy products – milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and milk based products
- Soy Products (Dairy alternatives) – tofu, soy chunks soy flour, milk, soy beans
- Mushrooms – Portobello If you can’t get enough sunshine for whatever reason and have follow a vegetarian food habit these are the best options for you to adopt. It’s an effective way of combatting cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, infections, influenza, DNA repair and metabolic processes just to name a few.
Even though fortified foods are recommended it’s advised that one checks its content before consuming. It’s advised to use margarine like a miser; large portions of any fortified with foods can be unhealthy and lead to obesity.
A study of 18,883 people between the years 2001 and 2004 showed that the average level was 30 ng/ml. This level is low enough to be categorized as deficient and raise all the risks listed above. This is an immense threat to a majority of people with the kind of lifestyle that this generation is adopting. Though food plays a vital role in combatting Vitamin D deficiency spending ample time outdoors is what works wonders in collective development of Vitamin D.