It's Time to Get Out in the Sun
Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for your health, but many people don't get enough of it. Some studies estimate that up to 40% of adults in the US are deficient in vitamin D. This can have serious consequences for your bones, immune system, mood and more.
In this blog post, we will share 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency that you should watch out for and how to boost your levels naturally.
14 Warning Signs of Deficiency
- Getting sick often: It could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency if you're frequently getting sick, particularly with respiratory infections.
- Tiredness and fatigue: Feeling constantly tired, fatigued or weak is a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
- Bone and muscle pain: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health, and low levels can lead to aches and pains in the bones and muscles.
- Depression: Vitamin D is important for brain health, and low levels have been linked to an increased risk of depression.
- Slow healing: If you have wounds that take a long time to heal, it could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
- Hair loss: Vitamin D plays a role in hair growth, and low levels have been linked to hair loss.
- Muscle weakness: Vitamin D helps with muscle strength; low levels can cause weakness and reduced muscle function.
- Difficulty sleeping: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to poor sleep quality and insomnia.
- Mood swings: Low vitamin D levels have been associated with mood swings, irritability and anxiety.
- Cardiovascular Disease: There is some evidence that vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Increased Risk of Falls: Vitamin D deficiency can lead to reduced muscle strength and balance, increasing the risk of falls, particularly in the elderly.
- Impaired Wound Healing: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with impaired wound healing.
- Weak Immune System: Vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system; low levels can increase the risk of infections.
- Allergies: Some studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of allergies and asthma.
How to Increase Vitamin D Levels
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you might be suffering from vitamin D deficiency. But don't worry, there are many ways to increase your vitamin D levels and feel better. Below are some of the best sources of vitamin D and how to get enough of it every day.
The sun is the most natural source of vitamin D. Spending time outside, particularly during peak hours (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), can help boost vitamin D levels. However, it's important to practice safe sun exposure by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing to avoid skin damage.
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Vitamin D supplements can help increase your vitamin D levels by providing an additional source of this important nutrient. Vitamin D supplements come in two main forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
Vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D that is most easily absorbed by the body, as it is the form that is synthesized by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D2 is derived from plants and is less effective at raising vitamin D levels in the body.
Supplements can come in different forms, including capsules, tablets, drops and gummies. The appropriate dose of vitamin D supplements depends on individual factors such as age, sex and health status and should be determined by a healthcare provider.
It's important to note that taking too much vitamin D can be harmful, so it's essential to follow the recommended dose and speak with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements. Additionally, supplements should be taken with a healthy diet and lifestyle to support overall health and well-being.
Certain foods are naturally high in vitamin D or are fortified with this important nutrient. Here are some examples of foods that can help increase your vitamin D intake:
- Fatty fish: Salmon, tuna and mackerel are all high in vitamin D. A 3.5-ounce serving of mackerel provides 643 IU of vitamin D.
- Egg yolks: Egg yolks contain vitamin D, with one large egg providing around 6% of the daily value (DV).
- Mushrooms - Some mushrooms are high in vitamin D, particularly those exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. Portabella mushrooms exposed to UV light are a good source of vitamin D. One serving (4-5 white button mushrooms or one portabella) contains about 400 IU of vitamin D.
- Fortified milk and dairy products - Many brands of milk, yogurt and cheese are fortified with vitamin D. One cup of 2% milk can contain around 100 IU of vitamin D.
- Fortified cereals: Some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D, with a serving of fortified cereal providing around 80 IU of vitamin D.
It's important to note that while these foods can contribute to your vitamin D intake, getting enough vitamin D through diet alone can be difficult. It is particularly true for individuals who are vegan or have dietary restrictions that limit their intake of fatty fish and dairy products.
UV lamps can help increase vitamin D levels by emitting UV radiation that stimulates the skin to produce vitamin D. UV lamps are particularly useful for individuals who live in areas with limited sunlight or have a medical condition that prevents them from being able to spend time outside.
UV lamps come in different forms, including full-spectrum lamps, UVB lamps and sunlamps. Full-spectrum lamps emit light across the entire spectrum, including UV radiation, while UVB lamps emit UVB radiation specifically. Sun lamps are a type of UVB lamp designed to mimic the UV radiation produced by the sun.
It’s important to note that UV radiation can be harmful in high doses and can increase the risk of skin cancer and other skin conditions. It's important to follow safe practices when using UV lamps, such as the use of eye protection, limiting exposure time and following manufacturer instructions.
Additionally, UV lamps should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as they can interact with certain medications and medical conditions.
In most cases, a healthcare provider will recommend other methods to increase vitamin D levels, such as supplements or sun exposure, before considering UV lamps.