“I'll be honest. Most people living in the U-S are vitamin D deficient because of where we live," said Dr. Bismurta Misra, an Endocrinologist at Stamford Hospital.
More and more studies are showing the dangers associated with low levels of Vitamin D, a nutrient crucial for good bone health and our overall immune system.
A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health says it found a link between low levels of the vitamin and premature death, saying heart disease and cancer are more common when people have a deficiency.
The debate begins when it comes to how much Vitamin D could prevent those risks.
"It's all about the right amount," said Dr. Misra. Dr.
Bismruta Misra sees many health woes related to low levels of the vitamin - a shortage often times going unnoticed.
“That’s part of the problem there are no symptoms,” she said. “There have been some anecdotal reports that maybe it’s a symptom of fatigue. It is a very important part of muscle and bone strength and I see people with concurrent fractures. However, it's very hard to find in food. I suggest patients take 1000 - 2000 units in a day - there's only 100 in a glass of milk," she continued.
And because Vitmain D is so hard to get naturally from a food source, many stores are now selling foods fortified with the Vitamin.
“I also get concerned about fortified foods – and processed foods. I’d rather people get their vitamins from more natural sources,” said Dr. Misra.
But the most natural source of all is the sun, coming from the same rays many of us are trying to block with sunscreen. Combined with the fact that we live in an area with a fluctuating climate, that leaves most of us at risk to a deficiency, unless we take a supplement.
But being that symptoms are generally not noticed and the true health risks are not confirmed, there is no mandate for doctors to universally test for a deficiency.
That’s according to a government health panel on Monday, choosing not to endorse widespread screening for Vitamin D levels in healthy adults.
“It’s not necessarily a bad recommendation. They tend to be very conservative. They are just listing studies that show they have not found a benefit. But I think they will find a benefit – they are just figuring out what the right dose is," said Dr. Misra.
Many studies on a wide range of health issues are consistently released – and often times – negate each other. Dr. Misra says any time you read a study like that – it’s best to talk with your physician and to discuss the information together.