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Is Vitamin D Deficiency the Cause of your Winter Ailment?

For the majority of people, getting a little natural sunlight on a regular basis is sufficient enough for keeping their level of vitamin D in check. However, the short winter days with little-to-no sun can take a serious toll on people’s well-being as a result of the despairing intake of the “sunshine vitamin,” which is otherwise naturally produced by the body in response to contact with direct sunlight. Research has demonstrated how vitamin D boosts the immune system to fight against a long list of both physical and mental impairments, including depression, bone health, and now­—with recent findings from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s study­—a lower risk of colorectal cancer in patients1. While the study was able to provide sufficient evidence that vitamin D is able to interact with the immune system by activating T cells that identify and attack cancer cells, further research must be conducted to determine exactly how increasing an individual’s vitamin D intake and in turn immune functioning reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Understanding the connection between seasonal conditions, your production of vitamin D, and the medical symptoms you’re experiencing is key to pinpointing whether the lack of sunlight may be the cause of your latest ailment. Since vitamin D boosts the immune system and bone health, the issues that could arise from a depleted source of the vitamin are vast and varied. A weakened, defenseless immune system and frailness in the bones and joints can lead to all sorts of health concerns and medical issues. The lack of vitamin D in your body may cause or worsen some health concerns including chronic pain, depression, erectile dysfunction, dementia, prostate cancer, heart disease, and schizophrenia2. Sprains, fractures, and bone pain may become more prevalent in the winter due to the weakening of bones caused by a deficiency. In addition to preventing various health and medical issues from occurring or deteriorating, ensuring a healthy intake of vitamin D also has its list of benefits­—from promoting bone and muscle growth, lowering high blood pressure, helping ease fibromyalgia pain, and slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis. Although the body naturally produces vitamin D with the presence of sunlight, it can also be absorbed into the bloodstream by taking the vitamin orally in pill form, as well as by incorporating enough vitamin D rich foods into your diet. If you have been experiencing some of the symptoms of deficiency since the onset of winter, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for vitamin D, or you can purchase the vitamins over-the-counter at your local pharmacy or supermarket. 1 http://www.activebeat.com/health-news/vitamin-d-could-help-in-fight-against-colon-cancer/ 2 http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/illnesses-linked-vitamin-d-deficiency/
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