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Vitamin D Deficiency and Shortness of Breath

by Emma Watkins

Your body produces vitamin D from sun rays that penetrate your skin. Certain foods also contain this nutrient, and it is available as a dietary supplement. A vitamin D deficiency causes bone problems in children and adults. Three health information sources -- the Linus Pauling Institute, the University of Maryland Medical Center and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements -- do not link shortness of breath to insufficient vitamin D. Consult your doctor before taking any supplement.

Vitamin D’s Functions

Vitamin D is essential for your body to absorb and maintain a normal level of calcium. An adequate supply of that mineral promotes healthy bones and nerves. Vitamin D also organizes cell multiplication so that each new cell serves a purpose and there are no disease-causing rogue cells running loose inside your body. Besides, vitamin D enhances the protective activities of your immune system. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, evidence suggests this nutrient may help to control the discharge of insulin into the bloodstream to manage glucose. In addition, laboratory research using mice indicates that vitamin D may alleviate hypertension.

Vitamin D Intake

Vitamin D doses are measured in international units, or IUs. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends that from birth to one year of age, babies get 400 IUs of vitamin D daily. The intake goes up to 600 IUs when children turn one year old. It should stay at that level through adulthood. Starting at 71 years of age, the recommended daily intake rises to 800 IUs.

Deficiency Causes

Although vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that your body stores in its fatty tissue, some individuals are at risk for a deficiency. For example, breastfed babies may not get enough of the nutrient and the elderly and dark-skinned individuals cannot produce vitamin D from the sun efficiently. The fat in obese bodies also attaches itself to vitamin D, preventing absorption. Likewise, people who suffer from celiac and Chron’s disease may not be able to assimilate the nutrient.

Deficiency Consequences

A lack of vitamin D does not cause shortness of breath, but it results in other serious health problems. Since vitamin D optimizes calcium absorption and use, low levels of the nutrient cause soft and distorted bones in children. Adults may develop osteoporosis, bone pain and weak muscles as a result of vitamin D deficiencies.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.