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Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is now a global public-health problem affecting millions of people world wide. Every one talks about it these days, its indeed a hot topic.
The most well-known consequences to not having enough vit D or the “sunshine” Vitamin was associated with bone diseases like rickets, osteoporosis etc,. But these days we see the consequences are numerous and include skeletal diseases, metabolic disorders, menstrual irregularities, autoimmune diseases, cognitive disorders, depression and most important sleep disorders.. The majority of our knowledge about vitamin D has been discovered over the past 20 years, and with the growing issue of deficiencies, more health connections with vitamin D levels are being made.
About Vit D
Vitamins are considered essential nutrients because either your body cannot make them or they are made in an inadequate amount. This means you must provide them through your diet or by taking a supplement. They are essential for your health, and when you are lacking in them, there may be health consequences and diseases.
Vitamin D is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). There are two forms of vitamin D, D2 and D3. Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, comes from fortified foods, plant foods, and supplements. Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, comes from fortified foods, animal foods (fatty fish, cod liver oil, eggs, and liver), supplements, and can be made internally when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Structurally, these two are not the same
Sun light And Circadian Rhythm
Inherent in all living organisms, nature’s circadian rhythm springs us into activity in the daytime and then into rest and restoration at night. And this circadian rhythm is attuned to the presence and absence of the sun, principally blue light.
Melatonin is critical to regulating the body’s circadian rhythm. When the sun goes down and it becomes dark, our eyes sense the absence of light and send a signal to the brain, which instructs the pineal gland to produce melatonin and put us to sleep.
Now in modern times, the incandescent light began humankind’s earliest assault on nature’s circadian rhythm. This has only worsened with the advent of television, computers, tablets, cell phones, gaming stations and whatever else produces light to interfere with our circadian rhythm. When the lights stay on, melatonin production is slowed or stopped.
I have seen many patients having sleep disorders having low Vit D level. There is definite link between these two. Those working indoors or those coming from sunshine less areas are mostly affected.
How to Get Free Vit D?
Exposure to sunlight — at least 10 to 15 minutes a day is recommended — is also crucial to the production of vitamin D, which is found in very few foods but is important for sleep. A deficiency in vitamin D, has been linked to insomnia and even sleep apnea.
How do you know if you have a vitamin D problem?
You can have your vitamin D levels measured when you get your annual physical and take a blood test, but you will probably need to ask your doctor to include a vitamin D measurement and then follow up to see if your level is sufficient.
Normal level is 30-100ng/ml, Below 30 is insufficient and below 20 is deficient.
You can always take vitamin D supplements (check with your physician first), but you should take the supplements in the morning or no later than early afternoon. Since vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, it can — like the sunlight or another light source — interfere with your body’s production of melatonin. Therefore, avoid taking vitamin D. in the evening.
I firmly believe that appropriate sun exposure is the best way.
If you have sleep issues, you should always discuss them first with your health care provider. If that consultation doesn’t yield the results you desire, then by all means seek out a physician specializing in sleep disorders.
About low Vit D and Snoring Sleep Apnea, please watch the following video clips:
Snoring, stoppage of breathing during sleep, restless sleep and sleeping in strange positions are symptoms of sleep apnea in children. They also suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and have attention problems and hyperactivity often with complaints from school.
If your child has these symptoms talk to your doctor. If you suspect your child may have sleep apnea, try videotaping him as he sleeps. Showing this video to your child’s doctor can help him or her make a diagnosis. Best way to make a diagnosis is to do a sleep study which these days can be done at your own home while the child sleeps.
The most common cause of sleep apnea in children is large adenoids and tonsils. (The adenoids are a mass of tissue that connects the back of the nasal cavity to the throat.) When the throat muscles relax during sleep the adenoids and tonsils can block the airway.
Treating snoring and sleep apnea in children
Those children who have sleep apnea from enlarged tonsils and adenoids can be helped by their removal. Some children have a dramatic positive change in personality, school work and health. Other kids with sleep apnea may be treated with positive airway pressure therapy, a special mask that keeps the airway open during sleep and/or assists breathing, but I wouldn\’t recommend it in an Indian scenario.