Research published in the journal Nutrition Research, reports that roughly 42-percent of American adults are vitamin D deficient. Dubbed the “sunshine” nutrient, D certainly has a sunny disposition on our general health and wellness. For instance, adequate vitamin D levels protect us from several forms of cancer (i.e., prostate and breast cancers), lower the risk of depression, and ensure strong immunity.
Alternately, vitamin D deficiency—which, according to the Institute of Medicine, is less than 600 IU per day for both men and women—can leave us exposed to all sorts of of scary diseases and illnesses, including early death…
1. Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
For the sake of your heart, the American College of Cardiology, would like you to know that low levels of vitamin D increase your risk of coronary artery disease by about 32-percent. Their research also claims a 20-percent increase in other heart-related diseases that impact the heart’s blood vessel system.
On the other hand, researchers at the American College of Cardiology, report that adequate levels of Vitamin D (at least 600 IU per day) strengthen immunity and reduce immune-related inflammation, which can extend to the heart and increase the overall risk of heart disease.
2. Likelihood Of Premature Death
A surprising body of research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, links vitamin D deficiency to early death. For this research, scientists analyzed 32 different studies that connect low blood levels of vitamin D with early death.
Scientists found that individuals with vitamin D levels lower than 30 ng/mL greatly increased their risk of early death, resulting from exposure to several diseases and illnesses. Whereas, those with vitamin D levels at 30 ng/mL or higher tend to live longer with far less incidence of fatal illness or disease.
3. Higher Incidence Of Dementia-Related Disease
A growing body of research, featured in the journal, Neurology, links low vitamin D levels to a higher risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Shockingly, vitamin D deficiency is considered to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 122-percent.
As research continues in the area of cognitive decline and vitamin D deficiency, studies show that even moderate deficiency in the sunshine vitamin can increase an individual’s risk developing dementia by 53-percent vs. those with healthy vitamin D intake.
4. Cancer Survival Chances
Research featured in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, notes that if you develop cancer, chances of survival increase depending on vitamin D intake. For instance, cancer patients with high vitamin D levels are considered to have better chances of remaining in cancer remission and of surviving the disease overall.
Scientists claim that cancer patients increased their rates of survival by up to 4-percent with every 10-point addition of vitamin D—particularly for those with colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and lymphoma, who doubled their chances of survival due to healthy vitamin D levels.
5. Lowered Immune Function
There has long been a link established between vitamin D and overall immune health. However, researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, take the science that much further by solidifying a link between low vitamin D and pneumonia.
Researchers claim that vitamin D deficiency increases the likelihood of developing pneumonia by 2.5 times, due to weakened immunity. The same study suggests that low levels of vitamin D also increase the risk of other forms of respiratory illness.
6. Depression Response
Akin to lowered immunity, vitamin D deficiency has long been linked to depression. A study published by the British Journal of Psychiatry reports that inadequate levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream will double the chances of a depression diagnosis.
After monitoring more than 31,000 study subjects, researchers noted a drastic loss of function in the hippocampus area of the brain (which harbors vitamin D receptors and helps regulate mood) due to low vitamin D levels compared to study participants with healthy vitamin D levels.
7. Higher Levels Of Pain And Inflammation
Research published in the Journal of Arthritis Care & Research, found that lowered levels of vitamin D in the blood elicit an inflammatory response, wherein the immune system strikes painfully at the joints.
In particular, roughly 30-percent of patients who suffer from vitamin D deficiency are also prone to a condition known as psoriatic arthritis. Likewise, the same research found that 62-percent of psoriatic arthritis sufferers are vitamin D deficient, which explains the severity of inflammation due to raising the levels of white blood cells within the body.
8. Increased Risk Of Prostate Cancer
The National Cancer Institute considers patients with higher levels of vitamin D in the blood as less likely to develop prostate cancer (in addition to colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancers as well). However, in men, chances of prostate cancer are considered up to 5 times greater if vitamin D levels are low.
The research connecting vitamin D deficiency and prostate cancer are still underway, however, scientists are developing a screening method to measure vitamin D deficiency in hopes that it will help early diagnosis of prostate cancer in men.