As a 26-year-old man preparing to enter into marriage life, I was scared when my doctor told me I had a Vitamin D deficiency due to a pre-existing medical condition. Several thoughts raced through my mind as I struggled to understand how to cope with this diagnosis. How did I get a Vitamin D shortage? Was it harmful to my health? Could it be cured? I soon realized that I needed to learn more about my condition before I determined how I could treat it.
According to WebMD, Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin and immune system booster, which supports the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. Taking the vitamin promotes healthy bones and strong teeth, reduces the risk of heart disease, and prevents autoimmune diseases. It also is used to treat people with osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, asthma, muscle weakness, fatigue and low energy.
I thought I was alone when I found out about my low Vitamin D levels. In reality, low levels are relatively common. Doctors estimate that between 40-75 percent of people are deficient. Having low Vitamin D can be harmful depending on your age, but it can be treated easily.
Foods such as salmon, tuna, fish oils, yogurt and cheese are considered to be some of the best options to increase vitamin levels. Vitamin D can also be added to any food or drink that contains calcium. I try to drink smoothies at least once or twice a week to get my weekly amount of fruits and vegetables. When I found out that Vitamin D could be added into drinks that contain calcium, I added vitamin D supplements to my smoothie orders. The drinks still tasted great, and I started to increase my levels.
As a result of my low vitamin levels, I suffered from low energy levels, fatigue, and weak bones. I wondered why I didn’t have the energy of other people my age, and was surprised when my doctor asked how often I went outside and was exposed to sunlight. I’ve lived in Florida — ‘the Sunshine State’ — all my life, but because of a nightly working schedule, I wasn’t receiving the necessary amount of sun my body needed.
Vitamin D is a hormone our bodies make by absorbing sunlight through the skin. The vitamin is then stored in the body and released when the sun is gone. If people don’t go outside enough, they run the risk of lower levels. Doctors say about 15 minutes of full sun exposure — no sun screen — twice a week is the recommended amount. For me — a night person — I realized I had to make some changes so I could allow my body to do some sun-absorbing.
I started by walking more. I walked to the store, walked to my mailbox — rather than drive — and I spent one day a week in some sort of outdoor recreation. Biking, rollerblading, playing a sport, walking a trail, etc. — anything that was fun and could be done with a group or by myself.
I’ve continued this routine for months and I’ve never felt better in my life. My Vitamin D levels are higher than they’ve ever been, and my doctor recommends I keep doing whatever I’m doing. I’ve experienced an increase in my daily energy, and far less fatigue and grogginess.
I was nervous when I was told I was deficient in Vitamin D. Understanding more about my condition and learning how to treat it was vital in my quest to increase my overall wellness. I challenge you to learn more about your deficiency and try out remedies of your own.