It is actually more common than people think. Some people think they consume enough Vitamin D because they drink milk. Fortified foods do not contain enough Vitamin D for your body and its needs. Primarily, we should be getting our Vitamin D from sun exposure.
Prior to the year 2000, few doctors thought of the possibility of Vitamin D deficiency. Recently, it had become easier to test levels of Vitamin D. The CDC has reported that about 32% of the children in the US are Vitamin D deficient. However, these numbers may be underestimated since they used numbers for daily requirements that were not high enough for optimal health.
Some researchers are suggesting that about 50% of people are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency also prevailed in those who always wear sunblock (because the sunblock blocks Vitamin D production). It is estimated that about 95% of elders are Vitamin D deficient, because they tend to stay indoors more and a person who is over 70 produces 30% less Vitamin D than someone who is younger with the same sun exposure.
There is increasing misinformation suggesting to stay out of the sun and to get your Vitamin D levels from diet. I would have to disagree with this advice. Too much sun, yes. Know your limits. If you burn after 30 minutes in the sun, go out for 15 minutes without sunscreen and soak up that Vitamin D! Be aware of the chemicals present in most sunscreens. If you live in a winter climate for a few months out of the year, you may have no other choice but to supplement.
Recent studies are finding that Vitamin D levels are lower in children who have Autism, than children who do not.
One study surveyed a total of 508 children, 254 who were Autistic and 254 who were not. Below were the results of this study:
-14.2 % of Autistic children had severe deficiency (compared to 8.3% severely deficient in children who didn't have Autism).
-43.7% of Autistic children had moderate insufficient levels (compared to 37% moderate insufficient levels in children who didn't have Autism).
-28.3% of Autistic children had mild insufficient levels (compared to 37.4% mild insufficient levels in children who didn't have Autism).
-13.8% of Autistic children were sufficient in Vitamin D (compared to 17.3% being sufficient who didn't have Autism).
It could be helpful in treatment, but, its important to note that there are many pieces to this puzzle and Vitamin D might not be the only answer. New funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council will allow research to continue to on how vitamin D protects against Autism.
"We found that pregnant females treated with active vitamin D in the equivalent of the first trimester of pregnancy produced offspring that did not develop these deficits."
In recent human studies, researchers found a link between pregnant women with low Vitamin D levels and the increased likelihood of having a child with autistic traits.
University of Queensland. "Link between Vitamin D treatment and autism prevention." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170317131556.htm>
Vitamin D helps with the absorption of Calcium and together they build bones and keep them strong and healthy.
Blocks the release of parathyroid hormone which is a hormone that reabsorbs bone tissue making them thin and brittle.
Vitamin D has other roles like modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation.
-If you have darker skin, it takes up to 10 times more sun exposure to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D.
-Feeling "blue" or depressed.
-If you are 50 years old or older. Your kidneys become less effective in converting Vitamin D into the form used by your body.
-If you are overweight or have a larger muscle mass. Vitamin D is fat soluble, which means the fat acts as a sink by collecting it. You will need more Vitamin D than someone who is smaller.
-Your bones ache along with fatigue, this can commonly be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
-Head sweating is one of the first signs or symptoms and is often asked about with newborns.
-You have gut issues, and since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and if you have an gastrointestinal issue that affects how your body absorbs fat, then you may have issues absorbing Vitamin D as well. People at risk are people with Crohn's Disease, Celiac, and non Celiac gluten sensitivities, and inflammatory bowel disease.
*****For the best absorption of Vitamin D, ensure adequate Vitamin K2 and Calcium.