Vitamin D… it’s the sunshine vitamin to protect the strength inside your body. It’s the vitamin that everyone is talking about!
Do you think that you might be lacking vitamin D?
You most probably already have some knowledge about good health and nutrition and it’s a known fact that we tend to scan read articles, predicting the end and hoping for an easy answer to our problems. So, for today, let’s cut to the chase and start at the end – how can you make sure that you’re not vitamin D deficient?
- Sensible sun exposure
- Eat more food of naturally occurring vitamin D
- Consider taking a supplement
Now you know, if you are lacking vitamin D, the answer is – sensible sun, eat, drink and repeat.
That sounds simple enough but you need to know more.
Here are 8 things that show you have a Vitamin D deficiency.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions then you could be Vitamin D deficient:
- Aches and pains – do you experience aches and pains in your joints? Vitamin D is shown to play a very important role in muscle performance and strong bones. Keeping muscles functioning and helping the body absorb calcium to strengthen the bones. Lack of vitamin D could be the cause of cramps, spasms and twitches.
- Feeling depressed – are you feeling blue and experiencing a decrease in mood? Tests have revealed that receiving vitamin D therapy can improve symptoms of depression and relieve anxiety. The National Institute of Health cites several studies where sunlight markedly improves mood.
- Lack of exposure to the sun – do you get time to go out into the sunshine? The Director of the Osteoporosis Centre at the hospital for joint diseases in New York City recommends 20-25mins sun exposure every day to get a good dose of vitamin D. Wearing too much sun lotion can prevent vitamin D being absorbed into the body. However, we encourage you use sun protection but try to get a balance.
- Over weight – are you gaining or over weight? Body fat cells absorb vitamin D quickly, removing it from the blood. When that happens, the vitamin isn’t available for the metabolic processes that use it. In order to reach a healthy blood level of vitamin D, therefore, an obese person needs to supplement with more vitamin D than a normal-weight person.
- Ageing – are you 50+? Vitamin D is vital for many essential bodily functions including the calcium and phosphorous absorption. There is increasing concern that many people, particularly older people, suffer from insufficient levels of vitamin D, with a 2012 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicating 92.8% deficiency in its female, elderly subjects.
- Discomfort after you have eaten – do you suffer from digestive problems? Vitamin D receptor cells are present all along your digestive system. Cells in your mouth, esophagus and small and large intestines rely on vitamin D to keep various bodily functions operating. Vitamin D also maintains a host of healthy physiological functions in your digestive system.
- Allergies – do you have a milk allergy, lactose intolerant or veganism? The prevalence of food allergies has increased dramatically over the past decade. Research has shown that a drop in vitamin D levels is connected to certain food allergies.
- Sleep deprived – do you have restless sleep? Vitamin D is known to increase levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine helps mitigate sleep rhythm disturbances such as those related to jet lag or people that work night shifts. Sleep disturbances can lead to alterations in body mass index and behavioural disorders.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble steroid hormone. According to research, it appears to protect against just about everything, from cancer and depression to heart disease and early death.
There are some concerns… an expert on vitamin D, Dr. Michael Holick, reported that at least 50% of people are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) currently recommends men and women get 600 IU of vitamin D a day, but recent research suggests those guidelines are too low. The IOM list 4,000 IU a day as the highest amount of vitamin D you can take to be safe. However, guidelines do change. The best course of action, if you feel you are vitamin D deficient is to consult a wellness provider.
Becoming aware of your vitamin D levels is important and will help you devise a nutrition plan that will support your overall health goals.
Where can you get a good source of Vitamin D?
Fatty fish – salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna
- Canned tuna
- Milk (not ice cream and cheese)
- Fortified orange juice
- Egg yolks
- Fortified cereals
- Beef liver
- Cod liver oil
- Ultra violet lamps
- Sensible sun exposure
Overcoming the low vitamin D levels that are more likely as we age is an ideal way of obtaining overall health and wellbeing.
Regardless of the sources of vitamin D, it’s clear that it has many health benefits. When levels of vitamin D are balanced harmoniously and the body is not suffering from either low vitamin D or excess vitamin D, we are less susceptible to significant diseases.
Too much vitamin D can also adversely affect the body, so it’s important to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D. A supplement can help keep levels of vitamin D perfectly balanced between too little and too much vitamin D.
Remember… knowledge, positivity and balance can help you have a happy, healthy life.