Now that summer is coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking once again about vitamin D. The D vitamins (vitamins D2 and D3) are not created in the body but are instead ingested in the foods we ate. The production of vitamin D is also stimulated by the sun. While the body doesn’t make vitamin D, the production of the vitamin is produced when sunlight hits our skin.
That said, if you have spent a lot of time outdoors this summer, perhaps even sunbathing when you can, you probably are doing fine when it comes to vitamin D. However, some of us avoid the summer sun because we get hot, sunburned, and fatigued. If this sounds familiar, you may be somewhat deficient in vitamin D, even if you live in Earth’s sunniest places. But how do we know if we are deficient in vitamin D?
The Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D has many roles in the body. It helps maintain a healthy immune system, promotes healthy and strong bones, and contributes to general health and wellbeing. Some of the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are the inverse of these desirable traits. This include:
- Frequent illness.
- Occasional fatigue.
- A feeling of never being well-rested.
- Pain in your back or bones.
- Wounds that won’t heal.
- Hair loss .
Of course, many of these disorders can be associated with other issues, so you should consult with your primary care physician.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to figure out if you are vitamin D deficient with a blood test. It’s sometimes recommended to check more than once, as vitamin D levels in the blood will be different at different times of day, depending on your recent dietary intake. A couple of samples should quickly reveal your vitamin D situation.
It’s a good thing that testing for vitamin D deficiency is easy, because 42% of American adults are deficient in vitamin D! Therefore, if you have any of the symptoms we’ve listed above, or if you have others that seem related to the bodily processes described, definitely consider talking with your doctor. Thankfully, vitamin D deficiency is just as easy to treat as it is to diagnose, and you can get the help you need in products available over the counter or online.
It’s generally recommended to treat vitamin D deficiency with high doses of vitamin D, as the body generally tolerates large doses of these substances with minimal side effects. While you will need to speak with your physician about how much vitamin D you need, it can help to know some of the supplement options available to you. A few you might consider include:
If you want to increase your vitamin D intake simply by adjusting your diet, you can do so by consuming more eggs, liver, fatty fish, and fish oil. It should be easy enough to incorporate at least one of these staples into your daily diet. Eggs are the most convenient option for most people, and fortunately, many options in this food category are highly affordable, including eggs, liver, and fish oil.
Focus on getting the vitamin D you need for a few weeks, and it will start to become second nature. Ensuring that your vitamin D3 and D2 intake is adequate is an investment in your long term health, one that will make a difference that becomes apparent as the years go on.