Tired and Depressed? It Could be a Vitamin D Deficiency
It's More Common Than You Think
Are you run down, feeling sluggish and moody? Are you overweight and can't seem to lose those extra pounds? You may have a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiencies are common, especially during the winter months. Symptoms can include weight gain, mood swings, tiredness and your bones may even ache. Some people don't have symptoms or their symptoms are so slight that they may not even realize there is a problem.
A blood test should be done by your doctor to determine if you are deficient. When receiving your test scores back, you should be at 45-50 ng/ml or 115-128 nmol/l. If you are deficient, your score will be below 10 ng / ml or 25 nmol/l.
Long Term Effects of a Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and is primarily responsible for bone, breast and prostate health.
There are many health risks associated with a vitamin D deficiency. Osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and even many cancers are just some of the health risks. Research also suggests that diabetes, multiple sclorosis and hypertention can all be prevented by having optimal levels of vitamin D.
What Causes a Vitamin D Deficiency?
There are many reasons one can have a vitamin D deficiency. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:
- You don't get enough sunlight. It's not called the sunshine vitamin for nothing. Sunlight is what helps your body create vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies are more common during winter months because the days are shorter and there is less sunshine.
- You have a dark skin tone. People who have darker skin tones produce more melanin than people with fair skin. This is good because it protects the skin from skin cancer and premature aging. On the flipside, too much melanin means the body isn't producing enough vitamin D.
- You are obese. People with a body mass index over 30, often have low levels of vitamin D.
- Your kidneys can't convert vitamin D. This is common with older people.
- You are a strict vegetarian. Vitamin D is found in foods like egg yolks, fish liver and fish oil. Vegans who don't consume animal products are at higher risk for a vitamin D deficiency.
- You have an underlying medical problem. Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease can cause a person to have a vitamin D deficiency.
Getting More Vitamin D
Spending more time outdoors is a great way to get more vitamin D, unfortunately that is not always enough and a supplement is recommended, especially for those who's vitamin D levels are extremely low.
It's important to know that there are two types of Vitamin D. Vitamin D2, which is found in food and Vitamin D3, which is made by our bodies when exposed to sunlight. When taking a supplement, you will want to choose Vitamin D3. For deficiencies, a minimum of 1000 IU is recommended. Although toxicity is rare, experts advise taking no more than 5000 IU per day. Be sure to get your doctor's advice on how much Vitamin D is right for you.
Once your body starts producing more vitamin D, you will begin to notice a change in your mood and weight loss may become easier. In the long run, your body will be healthy and strong. Getting more vitamin D is as easy as taking a walk out in the sunshine and is one of the simplest ways to improve your health and well being.
References: WebMD, Mayoclinic.com
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