Do You Have Vitamin D Deficiency?

Robyn Benson

Published on June 26, 2014

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for your overall health, particularly for your bones, skin and brain.  The beauty of it is that over 90% of the vitamin D that we need is produced by the sun. Many people assume they are getting enough sun and consuming enough nutrients to cover the amount needed but what they fail to realize is that most of us do not get even the minimum amount of sunlight daily and we definitely do not get the required nutrients through the foods we eat.

As far as vitamin D is concerned, your daily recommended value is 600 IUs for children and those under seventy. If you are older than seventy, the dosage should increase to 800 IUs.  Research has also stated that children can consume additional quantities up to 1,000 IUs and adults can increase to 1,500 IUs.

Another thing that most of us fail to realize is that if you are not consuming enough vitamin D, you are at risk for osteoporosis and other bone diseases. It may also increase your blood pressure and you could suffer from diabetes.

So, how do we know if we have vitamin D deficiency? If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you probably aren’t getting enough vitamin D on a daily basis.

You have aching bones

When winter blows through, do your bones and muscles ache? Those with vitamin D deficiency will have achy bones and muscles come winter and their joints will also be stiff when they get up after sitting too long.

You feel melancholy

Do you find yourself feeling more melancholy than normal – especially during the winter? Vitamin D can increase the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in your body, which can elevate your spirits. Vitamin D supplements improve positivity in a person when compared to those who do not take any supplements. As for women, those over seventy do not see any impact on their mental health by taking vitamin D in increased quantities.

You are 50 or older

As we grow older, our skin no longer produces vitamin D in the required quantities. Our kidneys become less productive and sluggish when converting vitamin D into a form that our bodies can put to use. Another issue with older adults is that they spend most of their days inside; depriving their bodies of healthy vitamin D.

Note: As electronics have become more of a focal point in our lives, even younger adults and children are suffering from lack of vitamin D.

You are obese

Although you suffer from being obese, your body still produces vitamin D in the same quantities – however – the presence of fat definitely impacts the levels in the bloodstream.  Since vitamin D is fat soluble, this implies that the more fat you have, the more diluted the vitamin D in your body.

Your skin is darker

Did you know that our skin pigment is a natural sun screen? What that means for those with darker colored skin is that they need up to ten times the amount of sun exposure than those with light skin to produce the same amount of vitamin D.

You have a very sweaty head

Okay, this one is a little strange but this is one of the first, classic symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

You have a gastrointestinal condition

Because of the way gastrointestinal conditions affect fat absorption, those with inflammatory bowel disease, celiac or Chrohn’s may be at a greater risk for vitamin D deficiency.

So the question is; how do we get enough vitamin D?

Since vitamin D production can only occur on unprotected skin, sensible sun exposure is the key. Please note that I’m saying sensible here. If you are one of those that gets a mild sunburn after spending just 30 minutes outdoors without sunscreen then you can safely stay outside for 10 to 15 minutes before applying. For maximum absorption, expose your legs, arms and abdomen if possible.

Of course it all depends on where you live as to how much outdoor vitamin D we are exposed to. Those who live in the colder northern states might only get sunlight from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, depending on the angle of the sun and time of year. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of the outdoors even if it’s for 30 minutes a day.

How do you make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D every day? Share in the comments.


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