Vitamin D is vital to our health, and yet ironically, most people don’t have enough of it. I was one of those people.
How I found out
For years I had been feeling pretty awful; achy and exhausted, like having the perpetual flu. For so long it had been normal for me to feel utterly lousy that I no longer thought much of it. I was otherwise healthy, so I ignored it. I simply existed on daily naps and lots of Tylenol.
Then, at a routine doctor’s appointment, I happened to casually mention the constant muscle and joint aches, exhaustion, and headaches. My doctor asked how long I had been experiencing this, and I honestly couldn’t remember. She ordered a blood test to check my vitamin levels, and sure enough, I was terribly deficient in vitamin D.
I began taking 4000 I.U.’s of vitamin D3 daily, and the turnaround was remarkable. Within a few days I began feeling human again! Did you know that you can get out of bed in the morning and not feel like you’re dead?!?
Who is at risk
My doctor informed me that vitamin D deficiencies are highly common, though most people don’t know they have it. The most common symptoms are chronic fatigue, chronic unexplained body aches, and in some cases, difficulty controlling body weight.
A little vague, no?
Hence why so many people go undiagnosed with something so simple and so treatable.
While vitamin D can be obtained through diet- dark leafy greens and certain types of fish, for instance- the biggest source is direct sunlight on your skin.
Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency therefore include living in a cloudy, temperate climate; having darker skin tones (the increased melanin acts like sunblock, preventing absorption); or having an autoimmune disorder or cancer, to name a few.
Living in Seattle at the time, I fell into that category. My doctor said that with little exception, the entire population of the Pacific Northwest, from Oregon up through Alaska, is deficient in vitamin D, because there simply isn’t enough direct sunlight.
Why it matters
Vitamin D is vital to our health. It aids in calcium absorption, helps your brain function properly, regulates your immune system, promotes heart health, and adequate levels result in a significant drop in cancer risks. In fact, many studies have shown prevalence in vitamin D deficiency in cancer patients, and that upping their vitamin D levels resulted in more successful treatment.
In other words, vitamin D is kind of a big deal!
Here is a great article by Medical News Today that gives far more detail about what vitamin D is, what it does, and why it matters so greatly.
And of course I’m not a doctor, this was just my experience. If you suspect you may have a vitamin D deficiency, see a medical professional before starting any supplements.