Dr. Rachel: Do you get enough Vitamin D?

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Dr. Rachel tells us about the epidemic of Vitamin D Deficiency in the United States.

The deficiency is due to the growing use of sunscreen, and Americans are not spending much time outside anymore. Most Vitamin D comes from the sun and not from food sources.

Common symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency include fatigue, generalized aches, and pains in your body. A sweaty head is a classic sign. Also, if you feel depressed, you could have a Vitamin D Deficiency. Serotonin is a hormone in our brain which makes us feel happy. This hormone rises with exposure to bright light and falls with a decrease of sunlight. Low vitamin d levels make you 11 times more prone to depression.

Some people are more at risk for Vitamin D Deficiency.

Those with darker skin are at greater risk. This is because dark skin requires 10 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of Vitamin D as a person with pale skin. The pigment in our skin acts as a natural sunscreen: the more pigment you have, the more time you will need to spend in the sun to make adequate amounts of Vitamin D.

Also, if you are overweight, you are more prone to Vitamin D Deficiency because Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is stored in our body fat. An overweight or obese person will require more Vitamin D than a slim person. Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, if you have a condition that affects your ability to absorb fat like Crohn’s Disease, gluten insensitivity, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease, then you are at risk for Deficiency.

Dr. Rachel tells us to get our Vitamin D levels checked. You might be surprised.

if you have any medical questions, email me at drrachel@wgno.com

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