Years ago we spent far more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, and vitamin D deficiency was virtually unknown. But now with our newfound fear of the sun, and increasingly indoor focused lifestyles, experts say as many as three out of four Americans aren’t getting enough of the “sunshine vitamin.”
Low on vitamin D? Here’s how to tell…
But most folks have no clue they’re running low on this vital vitamin. Following are eight surprising signs you are low on vitamin D.
1. You’ve broken a bone:
When we think of bone health, most of us focus on calcium. But the truth is your body can’t effectively absorb the calcium you need unless your vitamin D levels are high enough. Which means even if you’re taking in plenty of calcium, if you aren’t getting enough vitamin D your bones are going to be weaker putting you at a greater risk for broken bones.
2. You feel tired during the day:
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has linked vitamin D deficiency to feeling tired and sluggish during the day. And experts report that many of the folks who suffer with daytime fatigue also struggle with undefined chronic pain, another common symptom of being low on vitamin D.
We have a bit of a chicken or the egg situation here, because experts aren’t sure if the low D is causes the pain which in turn makes you sleep poorly. Or if the lack of vitamin D leads directly to you dragging during the day. But either way, if you find yourself feeling like you could fall asleep at your desk your D levels might be low.
3. You feel blue or depressed:
Researchers have found a link between depression and lagging vitamin D levels. If you find yourself feeling blue, or suffering from depression there’s a chance a vitamin D deficiency could be behind it.
The good news is that research, published in Nutrition Journal, has found that in some cases higher doses of vitamin D can relieve depression symptoms in as little as two months! If you’re feeling down in the dumps and suspect low D is the culprit talk to your doctor about using D to reverse your own symptoms.
4. You’re losing a lot of hair:
Emerging research suggests being low on vitamin D may be linked to hair loss. In a study comparing women with hair loss to ladies with full heads of hair, researchers found every single one of the woman with hair loss had low levels of vitamin D. So if you’re spotting more hair in your hairbrush than usual these days it might be time to have your D levels checked.
5. Your blood pressure is high:
If your blood pressure is on the rise and you’re not sure why, it may be time to test your vitamin D levels. In a major study of more than 150,000 people in the UK, researchers found a significant association between high blood pressure and low vitamin D levels.
6. You suddenly feel weak:
If you find yourself having trouble opening jars, climbing the stairs or carrying your groceries into the house low vitamin D could be to blame. Studies have tied sudden, inexplicable muscle weakness to vitamin D deficiencies.
But there’s good news, too. Research published in to the Western Journal of Medicine found this weakness is completely reversible by restoring your vitamin D to healthy levels.
7. You sweat a lot:
We all sweat when it’s hot or when we’re exercising. But if you find yourself sweating a lot for no apparent reason experts say this could be a sign your D levels are too low.
8. You tend to get a lot of colds:
If you find yourself getting catching colds or picking up other minor infections at the drop of a hat you might want to get your D levels checked. Researchers say a lack of vitamin D can weaken your immune system. Studies have linked low D to infections, ranging from respiratory illnesses to the flu.
Vitamin D deficiency is far more common than most folks realize and it can lead to some serious health problems. If you suspect your levels may be low as your doctor for a simple blood test to find out, or find a testing kit online.
If you find your levels are low don’t panic, raising them is easy. You can get vitamin D through your diet by eating more eggs, fatty fish and dairy foods. Make sure you’re spending around 15 to 20 minutes outside in the sun without sunblock on every day. And talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
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