Vitamin D is comprised of a group of fat-soluble secosteroids. Secosteroids facilitates the proper absorption of certain minerals. These minerals include zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Vitamin D is derived from sunlight and the food we eat. The body eliminates water-soluble vitamins through urination. But fat-soluble vitamins remain stored in the fat cells.
The body has to metabolize these vitamins by burning the fat cells. As such, too much of these nutrients can be toxic. But being deficient in these nutrients is just as dangerous.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D helps maintain bone strength. Staying outdoors for several minutes is enough to get your dose of vitamin D. An average person requires ten to fifteen minutes of sun exposure at least twice per week to get adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Not much is known about vitamin D deficiency. The lack of information isn’t just detrimental to health, it could also lead to sudden death. Unfortunately, 77% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D strengthens the immune system; it aids in cell differentiation and regulates insulin secretion. This vitamin also prevents serious diseases and assists in proper absorption of calcium for stronger bones.
Certain studies suggest that individuals deficient in vitamin D could increase the risk of developing hypertension and diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to cardiovascular disease, renal diseases, obesity and left ventricular hypertrophy. Low levels of vitamin D may also lead to hyperthyroidism, bone disease, fractures and surprisingly – pulmonary embolism.
The Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Blood Clotting
There is strong evidence that links vitamin D deficiency with venous and arterial blood clots. What makes vitamin D different from other vitamins is it acts as a hormone. Apart from facilitating proper organ functions, this vitamin helps in normal blood clotting. Blood clotting is an important body process that prevents excessive blood loss during an injury.
But due to inactivity or lack of blood flow, blood clots could form in the vein. This causes a condition called idiopathic lower-extremity deep vein thrombosis. Blood clots also cause aneurysm, strokes, and pulmonary embolism. All these conditions are life threatening. Being vitamin D deficient puts you at risk of developing all types of venous and arterial blood clots.
You see, vitamin D keeps the blood vessel flexible. It helps thin out the blood, working similarly like vitamin K.
A study conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University conclude that high doses of vitamin D help decrease venous and arterial blood clots in individuals treated for prostate cancer. Moderate sun exposure and eating foods rich in vitamin D also minimize the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood clot forms in bedridden patients. Smoking and taking birth control pills increase the incidence of deep vein thrombosis in women.
Research also shows that patients with low vitamin D increase the risk of pulmonary embolisms. Pulmonary embolism is the pre-cursor to other heart diseases – including heart failure and coronary heart disease.