5 Signs You May Have A Vitamin D Deficiency
As we move into the winter months, our time spent outdoors beings to decrease. We are further from the sun and many days feel totally cloudy. It’s not uncommon to have a Vitamin D deficiency during these winter months, but that doesn’t mean we can’t boost our body!
Vitamin D is crucial for healthy bones and skin, but 80-90 percent of our vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun. What do we do during the winter months when the sun isn’t shining as often?
Children may be at greater risk for bones softening, called rickets, while adults may be at a greater risk for osteoporosis. So, vitamin D is definitely an important part of bone health no matter what stage of life. The Institutes of Medicine recommend most children and adults get 600 IUs of vitamin D daily, and adults over the age of 70 should aim for 800 IUs daily. Up to 1,000 IUs a day for children and up to 1,500-2,000 IUs a day for adults can be safe and effective.
How do you know if you are deficient in vitamin D? The signs can be subtle, so if you think you may benefit from Vitamin D supplements or treatments, talk to your pharmacist about what solutions would be right for you.
Risk Factors and Signs of Vitamin D deficiency:
You have a case of the “Winter Blues”
Vitamin D improves the levels of serotonin, a natural chemical substance that will lift your spirits! Feelings of depression and anxiety are more common in the winter months with the fewer hours of daylight combined with the sun being at the farthest point from the earth. While light therapy has been known to combat this seasonal depression by improving the brain’s neurotransmitters and sleep-wake cycle but does nothing for levels of Vitamin D. Usually supplementation with Vitamin D3 is recommended. Especially if you note mood or sleep issues during the winter, be sure to accompany vitamin D supplementation with plenty of morning light.
Vitamin D, as we’ve talked about, is critical to the health of your bones. Bone health isn’t just for adults, children can suffer the same achy symptoms when experiencing low levels of vitamin D.
People with gastrointestinal disorders are more likely to become vitamin D deficient because of issues they may have absorbing all the nutrients the body needs.
You have Darker Skin
In the same way the pigment of your skin acts like a sunscreen, it makes sense that the color of your skin affects your vitamin D absorption. A person with darker skin, for example, needs to spend more time in the sun to get the same effect a person with lighter skin would get: sunburn, tan, and vitamin D.
You are Overweight or Obese
Vitamin D production does not increase as body mass increases which means the same amount of the vitamin is produced and then dispersed throughout a larger area. Vitamin D deficiency may be caused by the vitamin being “diluted” due to the higher volume of blood.
Keeping Safe in the Sun
The easiest way to get vitamin D in your body is through direct sunlight but be careful not to overdo it. Use the same precautions you normally would when caring for you skin when exposed to sunlight but remember that with an SPF sunscreen, it will take you longer in the sun to get the same amount of vitamin D. 10-15 minutes in direct sunlight is usually plenty of time in the sun; try putting on your sunscreen after 10 minutes of exposure. If you live in an area where you do not get enough sun exposure or identify with any of these items on the list, consider adding a vitamin D supplement to your daily regimen or use seasonally.