It all happened when I gave up Milk
Went I think of Vitamin D I think of milk. In recent years I have all but given up regular cows milk for the digestive upset it can give me. Never did I think that by giving up this dairy staple I might have been leaving myself susceptible to a Vitamin D deficiency. Lack of fortified dairy is only one way to get Vitamin D however. THe majority of our daily intake comes from sun exposure. The idea of exposing yourself to the sun runs counter to what we have been told for years. Cover up, use SPF 1000, wear a heat, avoid the sun. Little did we know we were also denying our bodies much needed nutrients.
If you are like me and work indoors each day it is easy to forget how little sun exposure we are actually getting. I mean we go from the house to the car, car to work, sit in enclosed office all day, then got back from office to car, car back to home. When do we even see the sun?
Ahh… on the weekends maybe? Maybe not. If you live in a cold climate it is unlikely you are venturing out enough to really get sufficient Vitamin D. If you are in a warm climate like me we are slathering on the sunscreen or just staying in the a/c and out of the heat.
How common is Vitamin D Deficiency?
The next thing you know these factors come together to bring about a Vitamin D deficiency. So how common is vitamin D deficiency?
According to Mecola.com “Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, and this percentage rises in higher-risk populations such as the elderly and those with darker skin.”
Why do we need Vitamin D anyway?
So what does Vitamin D do anyway? An article on WebMD by Daniel J. DeNoon states …”your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.”
“Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses,” says Dr. Michael Holick, author of the book The Vitamin D Solution.
“Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms,” according to Healthline.com.
How do I know if I don’t have enough D?
So how do you know if you are Vitamin D deficient? I found out after a routine blood test. A lot of the symptoms had already presented themselves but I just assumed they were from other things. Vitamin D never crossed my mind. Here are some signs you may need to have your Vitamin D levels checked.
- Aching Bones and joint stiffness
- Your overly sweaty
- You have tummy troubles. (This one is kind of ironic to me because that is what kept me from drinking milk, most likely making me more D deficient.
- General weakness.
People that are darker skinned or over 50 may be more susceptible to iron deficiency because of reduced ability to absorb D from the sun. Even as little as 15 minutes outside without sunblock can have an effect on your Vitamin D levels. You doctor will advise you if a Vitamin D supplement is necessary. In general however, the best way to be sure you are getting the enough of the sunshine Vitamin is to turn of the TV, get off the computer, get out of the office and get outside more.
***I am not a doctor and this post is not medical advice. I am just someone who was caught by surprise by my low Vitamin D count. This is intended for information purposes only.