What Is Vitamin D?Vitamin D is a family of active and inactive steroid molecules, most widely known for its crucial role in bone development and health. Your body produces vitamin D from cholesterol when exposed to sunlight. Recent research shows that sufficient levels of vitamin D positively influences your heart health, immune system, mood, and behaviour.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?The recommended daily intake is around 400-800 IU, though many experts say that an even higher intake is ideal. Although diet is a significant factor in your vitamin D levels, there are many other factors that affect your ability to absorb and utilize vitamin D These factors include your age, genetics, skin pigmentation, sunscreen use, and sun exposure. Even if you’re regularly exposed to the sun, you may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency.
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The Link Between Vitamin D And Chronic FatigueVitamin D deficiency is often overlooked as a cause of chronic fatigue, but there are numerous studies which have shown a link between the two. In a 2014 study conducted by the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, over one hundred adult patients with complaints of chronic fatigue were monitored before and after receiving treatment for their vitamin D deficiencies. 77.2% of the patients involved in the study had low levels of vitamin D and experienced chronic fatigue, but after raising the patients’ vitamin D levels, their fatigue symptoms improved dramatically. If you’re experiencing chronic fatigue, it’s wise to have your vitamin D levels assessed.
Other Symptoms Of Low Vitamin DOther signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency may not be so clear cut as these symptoms are typically caused by a multitude of factors, not just vitamin D deficiency. However, realizing that you have insufficient vitamin D levels may be the first step towards greatly improving your quality of life. Below are five commonly experienced symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency.
1. DepressionVitamin D has a significant impact on your mood and behaviour. In fact, dozens of studies over the years have linked low levels of vitamin D with depression, including this 2014 study by Shaffer et. al in Psychosomatic Medicine. If you’re regularly experiencing feelings of sadness and depression, especially during the winter months, your vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor.
2. Weak immune systemVitamin D directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for supporting your immune system and fighting off infection. Multiple studies, including this 2011 study by Aranow published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, have shown taking vitamin D has a positive impact on your immune system. Supplementing your vitamin D may reduce your risk of contracting a respiratory infection such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and the common cold. If you get sick often, this may be a result of insufficient vitamin D.
3. Hair lossAlthough hair loss is commonly attributed to stress, significant hair loss is often a result of low vitamin D levels. A lack of vitamin D has been associated with the autoimmune condition alopecia areata, which results in extreme hair loss. Hair loss in women has been associated with low vitamin D levels and increasing these levels has shown to reduce hair loss.
4. Sore bones & bone lossVitamin D is known for its relationship to bone strength. There is a relationship between vitamin D levels and bone pain, especially pain in your back, ribs, legs, and joints. Low bone density may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency and can lead to an increased risk of fractures. On top of this, vitamin D actually improves your body’s absorption of calcium, which further contributes to your bone density and health.
5. Chronic painVitamin D deficiency has a significant impact on different kinds of chronic pain, including muscle pain, bone pain, and joint pain. Some theories for this include that this correlation is due to the presence of a vitamin D receptor in nerve cells called nociceptors, which sense pain. Vitamin D also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce overall pain and discomfort, especially in conditions with chronic inflammation such as arthritis The reasons aren’t fully understood, but we do recognize that supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to reduce chronic pain.
Contact Annex NaturopathicIf you suffer from chronic fatigue or any of the above symptoms, you may be experiencing the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency. The best time to have your vitamin D levels assessed is in the fall (October) to see where your levels stand after you summer dose of vitamin D and moving in the winter. If we detect that your vitamin D is deficient/insufficient even after the summer, supplementing vitamin D to lift your levels moving in to the winter can help prevent cold/flus, the winter blues, improve energy and overall improve your quality of life. Having low levels of vitamin D can greatly impact your quality of life without you even knowing. We can help.
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