Got the winter blues? Trouble sleeping at night? Can't find the sunshine even when the sun is out? You might need to check your Vitamin D levels!
About a year ago, I discovered my Vitamin D was "critically low." A simple bottle of Vitamin D3 from the local store and one week later, my symptoms had all subsided. Wow! Could it really be that simple?
Today, I'm sharing 3 things I learned from my Vitamin D deficiency journey...
1. Some symptoms are easily dismissed
Who isn't tired these days? And everyone gets in a funk sometimes, right? It's easy to blow off these symptoms as just the normal wear and tear of life. That's what I did until I started having some real aches and pains, borderline depression, insomnia, swelling in lower legs, and even hot flashes (or what I prefer to call "power surges"). Being past the "spring chicken" age, I thought it was hormones (or worse…heart disease topped my list of fears). That fear drove me to the doctor and uncovered my Vitamin D deficiency, which it turns out has many "vague" symptoms.
I learned not to dismiss symptoms. But, don't turn to Google, either! If you're a freshbenies member, you might start with asking an expert for advice with your Doctors Online service. You can also use your Telehealth service to visit with a doctor. Of course, you can always schedule a visit with your family physician. Just don't ignore it!
2. Vitamin D fights the recurrence of strep throat
For years, I've had chronic strep throat. In 2015 I actually had 4 cases back-to-back and it began to attack my joints. I had to see an infectious disease specialist who initially thought I had Rheumatic Fever. It took about 6 months to recover from "Post Reactive Strep Arthritis" (I'd never heard of it before this, but you know…I like to be unique).
Since taking Vitamin D3 consistently, I haven't had strep throat once! This was a complete bonus discovery. Turns out, studies now show a link between Vitamin D deficiency and the recurrence of Group A Strep Throat. Plus, there are indications it can help with many other medical issues including heart and kidney disease, chronic migraines and osteoporosis. This little supplement truly is golden!
3. Sunshine and diet impact your levels
I'm far from a sun-worshiper (especially since my mother was diagnosed with Melanoma), but it's unclear how my levels got as low as they did. Here's what I've learned…
- "Appropriate levels" of Vitamin D for most adults can range from 20 - 50 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter) with the upper end of 30-50 being preferable. My levels were considered "critically low" at 14 ng/dl. Taking the recommended dose of Vitamin D3 on a regular basis has gotten my levels back in the healthy range.
- Many foods are rich sources of Vitamin D. These include cheese, fortified milk, fatty fish, and even some healthier cereals. It's crucial to make sure you are absorbing the Vitamin D you consume.
- Get some sun. Dr. Axe has shared research about SPF reducing the body's ability to produce Vitamin D. Using sunscreen is NOT a bad idea, but you need to know the appropriate amounts. Many experts agree that 20 minutes of unprotected sun per day is enough to get a safe dose from the big shiny. Just check with your doctor to make sure you do what's best for you.
If you have symptoms that are bothering you, don't blow it off! Get some expert advice, and make sure you're getting enough Vitamin D to keep you happy, healthy, and walkin' on sunshine!
Now it's your turn! Have you had your Vitamin D checked? What are some great ways you've found to increase your intake? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.