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Get your vitamin D checked!

By Greg Zacarese

Having low levels of vitamin D is very common, especially during the winter months. Vitamin D in the body comes from food consumed, and is made in the skin through synthesis. We need Vitamin D to maintain bone health and for calcium homeostasis. New areas of research suggest that Vitamin D can play a role in immunity and chronic disease risk reduction. It is used in the treatment of psoriasis and multiple sclerosis. Long-term Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in children, a disease characterized by a failure of bone tissue to properly mineralize, resulting in soft bones and skeletal deformities. In adults, rickets can cause osteomalacia, resulting in soft, fragile bones and high fracture rates.

People at increased risk include:

  • breastfed babies
  • older adults
  • people with limited sun exposure
  • people with darker skin
  • people with fat malabsorption

Vitamin D is not found in a wide variety of foods. Supplementation is often necessary, especially during the winter time when our sun exposure is limited. Some foods that do contain Vitamin D include fortified dairy products, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, salmon, liver, and eggs.

For more information: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#h5

 

Greg Zacarese is a Dietetic Intern with the University of SODEXO with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program

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