The common cold is the most frequently occurring disease in the world, and is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from work, school and yes, from your fitness classes.
There is a hidden fact about why people are often infected with the common cold.
Some of the ways to ward off communicable diseases like the cold, is to exercise, eating healthy and washing your hands as often as possible to minimise the chances of getting sick. Yet, some of you who exercise, eat healthy are often affected by the common cold.
Why? The simple fact is you could be deficient in Vitamin D.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout the body. For example, muscles need it to move.
Unlike most vitamins, vitamin D is a hormone (the medical community continued to use the term vitamin, even after it has been found to be a hormone – habits are difficult to change!) and every cell in your body has a receptor for it. Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common. According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in US are deficient.
What about Singapore or people living in the tropics? One would think low Vitamin D is not an issue given that there is sunshine all year round. The surprising thing is that a large majority of people does not have sufficient Vitamin D, one key reason being, most people live in modern cities and spend most of their time indoors.
Do you have any of these symptoms?
- Getting sick and infected often, especially with colds or the flu.
- Fatigue and tiredness.
- Bone and back pain.
- Hair loss.
- Muscle pain
Some people might attribute any of these symptoms to aging and live with it but you don’t have to.
It takes a simple test to find out if you are deficient in Vitamin D. If yes, you can correct it.
But read on. There is more to Vitamin D than we know. Research has shown Vitamin D is important in preventing other illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart diseases.
Vitamin D and Bones
Studies have shown that elderly individuals with low vitamin D are more likely to develop fractures and higher doses of vitamin D intake can reduce the likelihood of fractures
Vitamin D and the Heart
Studies have shown that low vitamin D levels are seen in people with heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke. There is some evidence that vitamin D may have a role in regulating blood pressure and preventing artery damage.
Vitamin D and Diabetes risk
Vitamin D levels also have an association with the increased incidence or likelihood of developing diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease.
Vitamin D and the Immune System
It has been established by research that vitamin D is crucial to activate the body’s immune defences and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin – the killer cells of the immune system will not be able to react and fight off infections in the body.
Next time, ask your doctor to include the Vitamin D test to determine that you’re neither having too little nor too much of it.
Contributed by Lay Yong, Wellness Entrepreneur.
Vitamin D crucial to activating immune defences – www.sciencedaily.com, March 8 2010, University of Copenhagen
Vitamin D keeps the doctor away, Heart Stroke & Cancer Centre www.shscentre.com; Dr Michael Lim
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