I Need More Sun, At Least That’s What the Doctor Told Me

I need more sunlight. I guess in reality we all do at this point. Especially those of us who live in New England. It might even go for everyone in the United States this year since this winter was just brutal all over the country. But I was told specifically by my doctor that I need more sunlight.

Yep – my blood tests show I have a pretty major Vitamin D deficiency. I was a 26. Based on the vitamin D scale, the deficiency range is 0-30. It’s not like… insanely low, but she said it’s low enough that we need to get it boosted ASAP and it could help with a lot of the things I’ve been dealing with. She told me to start taking a supplement immediately, preferably 5,000 IU a day, and I should start to see some improvement. Plus with the weather slowly beginning to warm up, it means spending QT with the sun when I get out of work.

Of course, once I found out about this deficiency, I wanted to learn more. I wanted to see if some of the things I’ve been feeling correlate with this. So I started searching. And below is what I found from various health websites across the internet.***

What is Vitamin D and what does it do for the body?

Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and keep it balanced within our bodies. It essentially helps to keep our bones from becoming fragile and brittle. Studies have shown that it can help in the prevention of osteoporosis, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation in the body, reduce the risk of allergies, decrease dental cavities, and help with the prevention and treatment of depression. (1)

Needless to say, it does a lot for our bodies.

What causes a deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiencies are really common, and my doctor told me she sees it all the time up here due to our long winters. Essentially, it’s not healthy for humans to be stuck inside without the sun. I say we all move south!

Anyways, the number one cause of a deficiency is lack of sunlight. Natural sun is a huge source of vitamin d and when we don’t have much exposure to it, we don’t get our vitamin d. Darker skin could also cause a deficiency because it has more melanin, which absorbs UVB radiation and doesn’t allow the skin to produce the amount of Vitamin D3 it needs. A person with paler skin will absorb more sun, thus producing more Vitamin D3. (2)

A recent study also has shown that obesity could be a cause. Essentially there is a relationship between your BMI and Vitamin D deficiency; the higher your BMI, the lower your Vitamin D levels may be.(3)

Additional reasons:

  1. Malabsorption
  2. Age
  3. Medications and Medical conditions (3)

What kind of symptoms does it cause?

Vitamin D Deficiency can cause such symptoms as tiredness, general aches and pains, or sometimes no symptosm at all. More severe deficiencies could have pain in bones and weakness, and frequent infections. (4)  See below of a list of common symptoms found on Dr. Frank Lipton’s website.

  • Fatigue
  • General muscle pain and weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Restless sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • Bladder problems
  • Constipation or diarrhea (5)

Are there any risks?

Essentially, if your levels become to low and it’s not caught, your bones could become thin or brittle. And we don’t want that to happen!

Bottom line: It could explain a lot of the problems I’ve been dealing with for a while now. Fatigue, muscle cramps, weight gain (I’m still pretty sure that’s just from being lazy and eating bad for so long, but whatever, it’s a symptom, I’ll add it to my list), restless sleep, poor concentration and headaches. I took my first dose of the supplement today, so we will see how I feel in a week!

***Disclaimer: All information found was just based on various health sites I researched for Vitamin D deficiencies and should not be taken as medical advice. The information above was found by doing searches on the internet so that I could learn more about Vitamin D deficiencies.  If you feel that you have may have a deficiency, or any other medical problem/deficiency/illness, please consult with your physician.

Sources:

  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/page4.htm
  2. http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/page6.htm
  3. http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/page7.htm
  4. http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/am-i-deficient-in-vitamin-d
  5. http://www.drfranklipman.com/symptoms-diseases-associated-with-vitamin-d-deficiency

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