Obstructive sleep apnea may be associated with a vitamin D deficiency. A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous health problems including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, kidney disease, asthma, and cardiovascular disease. The recent findings now suggest that a vitamin D deficiency may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea, too.
The findings come from researchers from Dublin, Ireland who report a higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Among the participants of the study, 98 percent who had obstructive sleep apnea were also found to have a vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, patients with severe sleep apnea were found to be even more deficient in vitamin D.
Some researchers believe that a vitamin D deficiency is associated with weight gain, which is a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea. On the other hand, some theorize that sleep apnea is an inflammatory disorder and vitamin D deficiency predisposes or exacerbates the condition.
Vitamin D is not a form of treatment for sleep apnea, but vitamin D levels should be monitored in sleep apnea patients and supplementation is encouraged for overall good health. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 600 IU of vitamin D daily.
Vitamin D is easily obtained through sunlight and some foods. If you receive limited sunlight exposure, the likelihood of a vitamin D deficiency is increased. A vitamin D deficiency increases your risk of weak bones, depression, and obesity. Obesity is a leading risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea and may explain the link between a vitamin D deficiency and sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person pauses breathing throughout the night. This can result in daytime fatigue, headaches, excess weight, and cardiovascular problems. The most common sign of sleep apnea is snoring. The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated effectively with lifestyle changes and a CPAP device.
There is clinical evidence that a vitamin D deficiency can contribute to sleep apnea, as low vitamin D can lead to weight gain. However, whether or not supplementing vitamin D can be an effective means to treat sleep apnea is still unclear – additional research is required to address this issue.
In the meantime, never begin self-treating yourself with vitamin D supplementation and speak to your doctor about any changes you are going to make. For now, maintain healthy vitamin D levels by getting adequate sunlight along with eating foods rich in vitamin D like dairy, fatty fish, and fortified cereals.