Vitamin D is one of the nutrients that most adults are deficient in. But what exactly does this mean? And, more importantly, what can you do about it if you believe you are deficient in vitamin D? Read on below to find the answers to this questions and more.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
These are the most common symptoms people with low levels of vitamin D experience.
1. Feeling Down
Vitamin D helps your body produce serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Without enough vitamin D, it is common to feel a little blue on a regular basis. Ever notice how people’s moods tend to be more depressed in the winter when there’s less sun? That’s because they’re not getting enough vitamin D to lift their spirits. To combat this, you’ll need to be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D from your diet during those low-sunlight months.
2. Achy Bones
If your bones and joints are often achy, you’re probably low on vitamin D. Because vitamin D keeps your bones healthy and strong, they will be the first to notice if you’re low on the vitamin.
4. Unhealthy Weight
Although vitamin D deficiency won’t make you gain weight, being overweight means it is more likely that your body is not able to utilize vitamin D efficiently. Because this vitamin is fat-soluble, the more fat you have in your body the less vitamin D your body actually processes.
5. Sweaty Noggin
Although it sounds like it’s made up, this is an ages-old trick to find out if you’re deficient in vitamin D. If you find that your head is consistently sweaty or clammy, you’re probably low on vitamin D.
There are certain factors that are not necessarily a sign of vitamin D deficiency, but do increase your odds of being deficient in the vitamin. For starters, if you’re over the age of 50, you’re definitely going to need to increase your vitamin D consumption to protect your bones and fight off osteoporosis. Also, if you have darker skin, there is a correlation between that and low vitamin D levels.
Although scientists don’t quite understand the connection, it’s definitely something to be aware of. If you suffer from Crohn’s or IBS, this can make it difficult for your body to absorb vitamin D, so you’ll need to get more than the average amount required.
What You Can Do
It is recommended that adults get 600 IU of vitamin D every day. If you believe you are falling short of this, there are a few ways to help you reach that daily goal. It’s undeniable that the sun is the best source of vitamin D. Of course you need to be smart when you go outside, but moderate sun exposure will increase your vitamin D levels and improve your mood quickly and efficiently. Dietary sources of vitamin D include milk, salmon, egg yolks, cheese, and mushrooms.
Especially as we age, vitamin D is an incredibly important vitamin for our bodies. It keeps our bones healthy and helps our bodies absorb and use calcium as it sees fit. Whether you get it from the sun, your diet, or a nice combination of the two, be sure that you are always getting enough vitamin D.