Vitamin D deficiency could lead to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and rickets in children. While you may think sun exposure and drinking milk and other vitamin D rich foods are enough to combat these deficiency effects, you may still not be getting enough.
According to a report published in Scientific American, a 2009 study found three-quarters of Americans (teens and older) are deficient in vitamin D. Why are there so many people lacking this essential nutrient?
Skin care protection is one of the biggest factors in decreasing the most natural way to absorb vitamin D. Using sunscreen with as little as 15 sun block cuts down the skin’s production of this nutrient by 99 percent. A diet low in salmon, tuna, mackerel and dairy are also the other cause of deficiency.
So how do you know if you aren’t getting enough of this essential nutrient? Be aware of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
Symptom No. 1: Depression
Have you been “down in the dumps” lately? If you’re not feeling like yourself and suspect that you may be depressed, you may want to consider your vitamin D intake.
People with low levels of vitamin D were 85 percent more likely to suffer from depression, according to a study published in the International Archives of Medicine. Another study reported by the Vitamin Council, found that Italian women with lower levels of the vitamin were twice as likely to develop depression and men were 60 percent more likely to.
Symptom No. 2: Fatigue
Yawning, longing for bedtime and grabbing a cup of coffee any chance you get are all telltale signs that you are fatigued. If you’re getting enough sleep but still feel sluggish during the day, vitamin D could help you feel more rested and alert.
Dr. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D. also known as The Sleep Doctor, points out a case study in which a woman had no trouble sleeping at night and woke up rested. But by the middle of the day, she would suffer from sleepiness. After testing to rule out sleep disorders and other medical problems, she started taking 50,000 units of vitamin D and in two weeks, she reported that she was less sleepy and fatigued during the day.
Symptom No. 3: Obesity
If you’re carrying extra weight, your levels of vitamin D may be low, further increasing the risk of illness and disease.
In a study published in the December 2010 Journal of Nutrition, participants who weighed more had lower levels of vitamin D. Researcher Zoya Lagunova MD, reports that it may be because their bodies are not absorbing the nutrient as well as thinner people. He concludes that obese people need to increase their intake of vitamin D.
Symptom No. 4: Chronic Pain
If it weren’t for your aches and pains you could do so much more, right? Well, consider upping your vitamin D intake to help ease your suffering.
1 in 4 people with chronic pain have low levels of vitamin D, reported by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
After testing 150 people with unexplained chronic pain and body aches, results showed 93 percent of them had low levels of the nutrient, according to a study by the University of Minnesota’s Community Health Care Center.
How Much Vitamin D?
The Institute of Medicine reports that most Americans and Canadians 70 years of age or younger should have 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D daily with an upper level intake of 4,000 IUs daily. Older adults 71 and older need 800 IUs with also an upper daily limit of 4,000 IUs.