Could you be deficient in vitamin D? It is a question that no one is asking. You feel lethargic and running on empty. Work could be tiring you out but the answer might also be something else. I had know idea that I was deficient in vitamin D until my doctor ran a test for it. I was dangerously low and had to take mega daily doses of vitamin D for three months to replenish my body. Here is information about this important vitamin D–what it is and why you need it.
What Is Vitamin D?
You read it on the milk carton, but what is it really? This vitamin is produced in the body as a result of exposure to sunlight. When you get outside and soak up some natural rays (not too many), they are absorbed through the skin where a chemical reaction takes place and vitamin D is formed. That’s why it is referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.”
You can also find this vitamin in foods. One biggie is milk. Most, if not all milk contains added vitamin A and D. Naturally, it is found in fish liver oils, some fish and eggs. Many food producers today are adding this vitamin and others as a way to increase consumption of necessary nutrients. You may read of its inclusion in cereals, juices and whole grains.
Why do you need vitamin D? It is essential for strong bones and teeth. Calcium keeps bones strong, it is true, but vitamin D is vital because it enables the body to utilize the calcium it receives through food and supplements. As you get older, lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis and other skeletal problems. It isn’t just a matter of calcium but also vitamin D.
Symptoms of Deficiency
How do you know if you are Vitamin D deficient? Here are some of the signs that your levels are lower than need be.
* Fatigue – You are always tired even when your work day isn’t so strenuous.
* Body aches – Bone pain is a common sign of vitamin D deficiency. Muscle aches can also fall into this category.
* Weight issues – It may be harder to get your weight under control when you lack sufficient amounts of vitamin D in your bloodstream.
What Puts You at Risk
What could put you at risk for vitamin D deficiency?
* Obesity – Fat cells are used to remove vitamin D from the bloodstream. Too much fat can result in lower levels of the vitamin in the body.
* Ethnicity – Darker skinned individuals have melanin pigment in their skin, making it harder to absorb the vitamin D. Longer exposure to the sun can fix that.
* Limited sunlight – Living in an area where the sun rarely shines greatly inhibits the intake of vitamin D.
* Limited diet – Lack of the foods that contain vitamin D in your diet can also lower your overall daily intake.
* Digestive issues – Conditions like Crohn’s disease reduces the ability of the intestines to absorb the needed vitamin D.
If you are not sure about your vitamin D levels or if they are low enough to cause problems, see your doctor and have your blood drawn for testing. I am glad I did!