Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Why are you deficient in Vitamin D?

Is it not ironical that most of us are deficient in the only vitamin in the world that is available for free? The Internet is flooded with articles about the risks of Vitamin D deficiency and ways to increase Vitamin D levels in your body.

Let’s identify the root cause and figure out the reasons why are we becoming deficient, even when some of us live in places that have more than 300 days of sunshine in a year.  The obvious answer is that we are not exposed to sunlight as much as we need to be. This is a no brainer and anyone can guess this. However, insufficient exposure to the sun is not the only reason for the Vitamin D deficiency epidemic.

  1. Even when we are exposed to sunlight, we tend to use sunscreens. Thanks to cosmetics industry and our society, we are more conscious about our beauty and complexion than our health.
  2. We don’t consume sufficient amount of good fats. Since Vitamin D is fat soluble, good fats are essential to absorb the vitamin D from the sunlight. French fries and burgers don’t count as good fats. On the contrary, cheap refined oils like canola, corn, soybean oil etc are proven to be detrimental to health. Since such products are marketed and packaged well, we tend to fall for those products. What is needed is consumption of good fats like ghee , cold pressed traditional  oils like coconut, sesame, mustard and groundnut.

  3. In our goal of becoming ‘health conscious’, we follow what our personal trainers and newspapers say, ‘Eat only egg white and not the yolk’. In fact, some of the items deemed to be villains like egg yolks, butter and ghee actually contain the much-needed Vitamin D.
  4. Our unhealthy eating habits causes Bloating, indigestion, constipation and other digestion issues which leads to Vitamin B12 deficiency which subsequently results in Vitamin D deficiency as well.
  5. We are not eating our greens. All green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin K. Deficiency in Vitamin K leads to Vitamin D deficiency . Also, anaemia or iron deficiency can lead to Vitamin D deficiency as Iron Is needed to activate enzymes for Vitamin D activation. Drinking green smoothies? Read this.
  6. Most people who are deficient in Vitamin D are actually deficient in Magnesium.

    Magnesium and Vitamin D are ‘Made for Each Other‘ and one cannot function without the other .

    Read this to know about Magnesium and how to improve your Magnesium intake. 

What Doesn’t work?

  1. I get sufficient sunlight when I am in my car and at my desk (in the comfort of Air condition):  Sorry , but glass blocks all the UV- B rays that is needed to absorb Vitamin D.
  2. 20 minutes of sunshine is enough for me : That depends on your skin colour. Dark skinned people (like me and most Indians) are created that way to ensure we can live safely in places with lots of sunshine. Looking at this the other way, if your skin colour is dark, you NEED to spend more time in the sun to absorb Vitamin D.
  3. I am having Vitamin D fortified milk, orange juice and cereals: The Vitamin D in milk and cereals are in negligible amounts. Furthermore, most of it is synthetic and might aggravate health issues
  4. I am taking Vitamin D supplements – Even scientists don’t know what the ideal amount of Vitamin D supplement should one take to avoid toxicity, leading to calcification of arteries, kidney stones etc. Since it is only fat soluble, consumption of higher amounts tends to get accumulated in the body.

 

When we are deficient in a Vitamin, supplementing just that vitamin will not help. We need to understand that unlike a mechanical body like a car, where we can fill in oils and fuels whenever needed,  there is a delicate balance of nutrients needed for human body to function optimally.   Focusing only on weight loss and trying out fancy diets posted in social media and magazines will only hamper the delicate balance.

 

Does this post echo what you go through? Let us know by leaving a comment.

 

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Food

Magnesium – The Miracle Mineral

You must have learnt about Magnesium as an element in school. You would have heard about its health benefits if you are the health conscious type who does ‘Research’ about health and fitness.

Magnesium is crucial for fat and carbohydrate metabolism, synthesising proteins and DNA, producing cellular energy and wound healing. It is essential for the function of more than 300 enzymes in our body. It will also help you be cool before and pain free during your periods.

Magnesium helps to maintain the delicate balance between Vitamin D, calcium and other minerals.

If you are already taking supplements for vitamin D or calcium but not seen improvements, you should include Magnesium rich food in your diet. Most doctors don’t realise the importance of this mineral while treating vitamin D and Calcium deficiency

Magnesium helps in preventing fatigue and low energy levels as it helps in producing energy at cellular level. It is a muscle relaxant which will relieve you from muscle cramps, constipation, insomnia , migraine headaches and high blood pressure. This is also why we take an epsom salt bath for sore legs and muscles.

Low levels of Magnesium can manifest in numerous ways in our body. Some of these are

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Thyroid problems
  • PMS
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Fatigue
  • Low energy levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diabetes
  •  Poor sleep
  •  Headache , Migraine
  • Constipation/bloating

The magic wand to cure all of these is to embrace Magnesium rich foods.

Even if you are on thyroid medication or not, Magnesium is essential for the optimal functioning of  Thyroid gland (cells need Mg to convert  T4 to T3). In many cases, improving the Magnesium intake is what is mainly needed to improve an underactive thyroid / Hypothroid.

Magnesium also has a beneficial effect on Diabetes and insulin resistance as its essential for carbohydrate metabolism. Consuming Magnesium rich foods have been proved to lower insulin resistance and fasting blood sugar levels.

What depletes Magnesium from our body?

Stress, supplementation of calcium, Vitamin D , Iron( as the intricate balance of the  minerals are compromised), excessive salt, excess sugar, meat, soft drinks and food grown with chemical fertilizers & depleted soil. Basically, our modern lifestyle and any processed food (that we see on TV).

How do we replenish it?

Some of the richest sources of Magnesium are what we have in plenty in our kitchen, but not on our plate.

 

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Moringa/Drumstick leaves
  •  Melon/pumpkin seeds
  • Drumstick leaves/moringa
  • Sesame seeds
  • Dals/lentils and other pulses
  • Peanuts/groundnuts
  • Channa/chickpea
  • Cashews
  • Rajma/beans
  • Almonds

The above list is less popular than the ‘rich man’s food – salmon, oysters, walnuts and other exotic seafood .

Having the right amount of Magnesium will help you reduce your medication for other issues. Isn’t it clever to fix the leaks in a tank if you want it remain full?

 

Have you thought about increasing your Magnesium intake to fix other health issues?

 

If you found this post informative, feel free to share it with your friends too.