Updated: Feb 26
For years, doctors have known that vitamin D is important for our physical health. It helps with calcium absorption, which is necessary for strong bones and teeth. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. However, recent research has also shown that vitamin D deficiency can have a negative impact on our mental health as well.
Almost 40 percent of African Americans are vitamin D deficient, which can lead to a host of problems, both physical and mental. Physical effects include fatigue, bone pain, and muscle weakness. Mental effects can range from depression and anxiety to impaired cognitive function. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of dementia. African Americans are especially vulnerable to these effects due to our higher rates of diabetes and hypertension, which can lead to kidney problems and make it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin D.
So what can we do about this? First and foremost, it's important to get your vitamin D levels checked by a doctor. If you are deficient, they will likely recommend supplements or suggest that you spend more time in the sun. While exposure to sunlight is the best way to get your body to produce vitamin D naturally, there are other options for those who cannot or choose not to get out in the sun often. You can also get your daily dose of vitamin D through certain foods, such as eggs, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, and fortified milk and cereals.
It's also important to take steps to protect your overall health. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can all help reduce your risk of developing the conditions that lead to vitamin D deficiency in the first place. And if you do develop one of those conditions, be sure to follow your doctor's recommendations for treatment. By taking care of ourselves and each other, we can overcome this problem and improve our health as a community.
Vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem among African Americans, leading to many physical and mental health problems. But it's a problem we can solve by getting our vitamin D levels checked regularly and taking steps to protect our overall health. By working together, we can overcome this obstacle and build a healthier future for ourselves and future generations.