Did you know that African-Americans are more likely to have Vitamin D deficiencies? Did you also know that Vitamin D deficiency is more common in African-Americans than other ethnicities?
I was unaware of all this until I read about Emily Allison-Francis who has written a book about Vitamin D deficiency. It’s why it’s so important for African-Americans to have enough.
You can order her book Correcting the Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic for Black People. It’s available at Amazon.com.
What was it that prompted the creation of the book?
As a librarian at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College I assisted students in their research by searching different databases. Many of these students were nursing or science-related. I was shocked to see the high rate of chronic disease in blacks as I helped them with their research assignments. I found research that demonstrated how important vitamin D was to good health. I also discovered studies that indicated that many blacks were severely deficient in vitamin.
Does Vitamin D Deficiency directly impact you, your family, or your community?
Vitamin D-related illnesses have claimed the lives of many friends and family members. If the information contained in my book had been made available to our communities, I believe that more people would have sought out vitamin D supplements to relieve their suffering and extend their lives. I have heard encouraging stories from people about vitamin D’s positive effects on their health. These stories are included in the book.
A 70-year-old woman who had suffered from severe bone and muscle pain for years, explained to me that Vitamin D has helped her pain disappear.
One man explained that vitamin D, obtained from sun exposure for several hours per day, helped him with his anxiety. He was able to forget about his anxiety and stopped taking any anxiety medication.
One lady said that she suffered severe leg pains and could not walk straight. After about a month of vitamin D supplements, she was able to dance in high-heeled shoes.
A second lady with diabetes had her glucose levels improve after she took vitamin D. She was also able to lower her medication.
Who and why is this most likely to develop?
Vitamin D deficiency has become a worldwide epidemic. Vitamin D deficiency is a global epidemic that affects more than 50% of the world’s population. People with darker skin are particularly at risk. A US survey over a 10-year period found that 97% of blacks are deficient in vitamin-D. The elderly, shut-ins, institutionalized blacks, and those in incarcerated and hospitalized blacks are some of the most at risk. These groups are covered in the book.
Are black women at greater risk than black men? If so, how can this be? Your work is highlighted in some articles. This is why? What are the potential risks for the developing foetus if Vitamin D levels drop? What benefits can one look forward to if they are able to maintain their optimum levels of Vitamin D during pregnancy?
Young black women may be at greater risk because they are more likely to pass on vitamin D deficiencies to their children. Vitamin D deficiency can have a profound impact on the development of young children and later on life. The Telethon Institute for Children Health Research in Australia recently published a study that links poor language development in children with vitamin D deficiency. This could be linked to the function vitamin D plays in brain development. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the coding genes (DNA) during early brain development. This includes during the nine-months of infancy and the first years of life. This book focuses on the health risks faced by young black mothers who are deficient in vitamin D and their unborn children.
What are the most common signs of Vitamin D deficiency in humans?
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to aches and pains throughout the body, as well as bone pain and weakness. If the vitamin D deficiency is severe, the pain can be more severe. Sometimes people don’t even know they have vitamin D deficiencies. However, those with serious health issues often discover the problem. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to many chronic diseases such as cancer.
Do you think Vitamin D Deficiency is responsible for the following diseases that are common in African-Americans?
Diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease are just a few of the chronic diseases that affect African-Americans.
How important are lifestyle choices, diet, and environment in these health issues?
Vitamin D is a component of healthy diets that reduce inflammation and lower the risk of developing disease. The environment and lifestyle you live in can have an impact on your health. In the book, I discuss how unhealthy eating habits, poor nutrition and poor living conditions can all lead to disease. Vitamin D is more effective when it has its nutrient cofactors. These cofactors include magnesium, calcium and vitamin K2 as well as zinc. These cofactors of Vitamin D are discussed in sections of the book, along with the importance of exercising and tips on choosing and preparing healthy food.
Are you a proponent of regular testing for Vitamin D deficiencies? Do you recommend regular testing for Vitamin D deficiency?
Recent studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can lead to poor survival rates in blacks. A study of 10000 people with an average age of 58 years was done over a 5-year period. It showed that vitamin D deficiencies may increase your chances of dying sooner. The study was published in American Journal of Cardiology on November 10, 2011. According to this study, vitamin D supplementation was strongly associated with higher survival rates in patients with documented deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation should be started immediately and your vitamin D levels checked every six months. This book provides dosage recommendations for various age groups and diseases.
How important is Vitamin D for growing children? What is the importance of Vitamin D for children?
Vitamin D levels in children should be optimized as vitamin D deficiency can have a significant impact on the likelihood of them developing certain diseases. Studies have shown that children of color are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than their counterparts of white children. Additionally, the risk of developing vitamin D-related diseases such as asthma and diabetes is higher among black children. Numerous babies have died from vitamin D deficiency-related diseases like pediatric cardiomyopathy. Children with low vitamin levels are more likely to develop asthma, rickets and cavities. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is also a risk factor. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans have a 2.4-times higher infant mortality rate than non-Hispanic Whites. Additionally, black infants are four times more likely to die from complications related to low birthweight than non-Hispanic White infants. Vitamin D deficiencies in mothers can lead to low birth weight babies. African American mothers have significantly higher rates than white mothers in the United States.
Regular sun exposure is the best way for Vitamin D to be absorbed?
Vitamin D can be obtained by regular sun exposure. But, not enough people are getting enough sunlight. People with darker skin should not depend on the sun for their vitamin D requirements. Darker skin tones require more sunlight exposure than those with lighter skin to obtain adequate vitamin D. A person with a light complexion will produce the amount of vitamin D needed for one day if they are exposed to the sun for only 10-15 minutes. Contrary to this, a person with darker skin will require ten times as much sun exposure to make the same amount of vitaminD.
Which parts of your body should you expose to the sun when it is available? What about skin cancer risk? Is there a safe and healthy way to get the sun while not exposing the skin too much?
Vitamin D can be produced from any part of the body. Vitamin D production will increase if there is more skin exposure. Higher levels of melanin in skin types have better sun protection and protection against harmful UV rays, which could lead to skin cancer. Recent reports suggest that the warning about skin cancer might have been too severe, even for people with lighter skin tones who are more susceptible to sunburn. Research suggests that moderate sun exposure can actually lower your chances of developing skin cancer.
What is the best source of Vitamin D in food?
Vitamin D supplements are the best way to make sure you have enough vitamin D. Foods are not considered adequate sources of vitamin A.
Do you have a suggestion for a diet? We can help you with a recommendation for a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Vitamin D is more effective when there are sufficient amounts of certain nutrients. These nutrients are called cofactors for vitamin D and include vitamin K2, vitamin K2, zinc, and boron. This book explains the roles of vitamin D cofactors as well as the daily requirements for each. These cofactors should be taken in supplement form, particularly magnesium. Americans eat a lot of processed foods and are therefore very deficient in essential nutrients like magnesium.
Americans are becoming more conscious about what they eat, which has led to an increase in organic and whole food sales. A variety of foods is the best way to provide your body with vital nutrients. Organic foods have higher levels of cofactors of Vitamin D. A diet rich in magnesium, calcium and vitamin K2, as well as other nutrients that promote health, would be an example of such a diet.
Breakfast: Cheese omelet, whole-grain bread, cooked oatmeal, fresh fruits
Lunch: Baked chicken, steamed Kale, fresh vegetable salad
Dinner: Wild rice pilaf, peppered steak, wild salmon, steamed collard leaves, and watermelon refresher beverage
The book contains more recipes.
What supplements would you recommend?
I explained the function of important supplements in the book. Also, I mentioned that processed foods can cause a loss of nutrition. Vitamin B12, vitamin C and Omega3 Magnesium are just a few of the nutrients. Vitamin D supplements are also recommended because vitamin D is not found in foods and not enough sunlight.
Is there a way to know when we have reached our optimum levels? Do we feel differently? Or look different? What ways might you change?
When your body has the right amount of vitamin D, many of the symptoms that can be caused by vitamin D deficiency will disappear, including those mentioned above. Some people have reported that anxiety symptoms disappear after taking vitamin D for several months. They also report feeling less depressed and their body experiencing fewer aches and pains. Women have reported relief from symptoms like bloating and pre-menstrual discomforts. It can take several months to get your vitamin D levels up to par and you will start to notice improvements. It may take time to notice the benefits of vitamin D if you have a chronic condition.