If you live in Wisconsin, you likely have low vitamin D levels

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 7:36 AM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Staying inside during the wintertime can cause our vitamin D levels to naturally decrease, according to a UW associate professor of dermatology.

Dr. Apple Bodemer said at least half of Americans have vitamin D insufficiencies. She said vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to causing depression or mood disorders.

“Certainly when we get into the northern latitudes we have a lot less exposure to UV throughout the day and in the winter, especially when it’s so cold out in Wisconsin, I definitely do see a lot of vitamin d deficiency in people that you might be surprised would have it,” said Dr. Apple Bodemer, associate professor for dermatology at UW Health.

Bodies need vitamin D to build healthy bones. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone, when vitamin D is present. Vitamin D also regulates many other cellular functions in your body. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity.

Foods and drinks, such as orange juice with vitamin D3, egg yolks, and beef liver can help to increase those vitamin D levels. Fatty fishes, like salmon and sardines, can increase vitamin D levels too.

There are vitamin D2 and D3 supplements, but Dr. Bodemer said D3 is the one you are looking for.

Dr. Bodemer said it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight a day to maximize the vitamin D production in our bodies.

Vitamin D deficiencies can present as hairloss, fatigue, weight gain and muscle and joint pain.

Mayo Clinic research shows a positive effect on the following conditions by supplement with vitamin D:

  • Cognitive health. Research shows that low levels of vitamin D in the blood are associated with cognitive decline. However, more studies are needed to determine the benefits of vitamin D supplementation for cognitive health.
  • Inherited bone disorders. Vitamin D supplements can be used to help treat inherited disorders resulting from an inability to absorb or process vitamin D, such as familial hypophosphatemia.
  • Multiple sclerosis. Research suggests that long-term vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis.
  • Osteomalacia. Vitamin D supplements are used to treat adults with severe vitamin D deficiency, resulting in loss of bone mineral content, bone pain, muscle weakness and soft bones (osteomalacia).
  • Osteoporosis. Studies suggest that people who get enough vitamin D and calcium in their diets can slow bone mineral loss, help prevent osteoporosis and reduce bone fractures. Ask your doctor if you need a calcium and vitamin D supplement to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
  • Psoriasis. Applying vitamin D or a topical preparation that contains a vitamin D compound called calcipotriene to the skin can treat plaque-type psoriasis in some people.
  • Rickets. This rare condition develops in children with vitamin D deficiency. Supplementing with vitamin D can prevent and treat the problem.

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