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Tired and Depressed? It Could be a Vitamin D Deficiency

Updated on February 12, 2012
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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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    • heatherlund profile image

      heatherlund 

      4 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      I'm going to try this, I live in good ol Washington State and do not receive enough sunlight! Very interesting hub!

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      amymarie_5 

      6 years ago from Chicago IL

      Thanks Chris,

      Many young people don't realize how important vitamin D is. Most doctors don't check vitamin D levels unless you ask. It's considered a problem for older people but if you get adequate vitamin D when you are still young you can prevent a slew of health problems.

      thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 

      6 years ago

      This is a very good hub on an important subject. So many people are low in Vitamin D.

    • STEVEW13 profile image

      Steve Wright 

      6 years ago from Norwich, England

      Fortified cereals are also a good source of vit D, great hub I enjoyed reading it. Voted up :)

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      amymarie_5 

      6 years ago from Chicago IL

      Hi Tsmog,

      Glad you read this. Definitely get that prescription. Once your body has enough vitamin D you'll start feeling great! I noticed a big difference once I started getting more vitamin D in my system. Don't forget sunshine! Thanks for stopping by!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Thank You amymarie. I just reread the hub on your friends cousin. Came to your profile to see what is up in life with your writing. Low and behold in the recommending reading is this hub next to the previous hub I mentioned. True confessions. Two weeks ago with my quarterly blood analysis my PCDoc = primary care doctor in chat language told me I have a Vitamin 'D' deficiency. He made a prescription. I have not filled it, yet. I guess it is time for a little walk down to the corner CVS. :) Odd, thing synchronicity is . . .

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      amymarie_5 

      6 years ago from Chicago IL

      Thanks for the info! I'll have to try that!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 

      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is a very interesting hub. Twinlab makes a sublingual D3 combined with calcium for better absorption. Voted up and useful.

    • djsmillions profile image

      djsmillions 

      6 years ago from Vista California

      Have you tried liquid vitamins? Liquid vitamins from lifeforce will give you all the help you need.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      amymarie_5 

      6 years ago from Chicago IL

      Hi Allure,

      I also struggle with this. I recently discovered I had a vitamin D deficiency. Taking a vitamin D supplement everyday has helped me a bit with my moods. Maybe it will help you too. Thanks for commenting :)

    • ALUR profile image

      ALUR 

      6 years ago from USA

      I've heard that as well as vitamin K. Sometimes its a chemical or genetic issue and I struggle with this quite a bit but there is a rare time where I see a glimmer of hope. Thanks

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