Do you dread wintertime? Do the colder, darker months of the year make you feel less like yourself? This may be the impact of vitamin D deficiency.
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include depression, fatigue, muscle pain, and weakness. These symptoms impact so much of daily life that it might come as a shock that the most common vitamin deficiency in the world is vitamin D.
The natural sources of vitamin D include some forms of seafood, and fortified foods, like orange juice with added vitamin D, but these often do not provide consistent amounts of vitamin D. The primary and most concentrated natural source of Vitamin D is the sun.
We need 15-30 minutes of direct sun exposure daily to meet our requirements. This doesn’t mean getting into a swimsuit and laying out in the yard for half an hour every day, because just exposing your hands and face will get you enough vitamin D. Elements in your skin will convert UV light into usable vitamin D.
It becomes much harder in the winter to source that vitamin D naturally and efficiently. In some more humid or polluted areas with less direct sun exposure, it is difficult to get sufficient vitamin D year-round.
Vitamin D deficiency can also be caused by more than just the lack of sunlight in the wintertime, such as a condition or medications that interrupt the absorption of vitamin D, but this deficiency is only worsened in the wintertime due to a lack of sunlight.
Modern lifestyle changes, like working indoors 5 days a week, and wearing sunscreen daily decreases the amount of UV absorbed, which decreases the amount of vitamin D the body can produce.
Long Term Impacts
Vitamin D is not only important for the immediate impact of muscle pain and symptoms of depression, but for lifelong bone maintenance and GI tract health, which consists of many important organs that keep your body working.
Severe vitamin D deficiencies can lead to a need for prescription levels of vitamin D supplementation, but there is a wide variety of supplements and doses offered in pharmacies and drug stores. Before starting consistent and high supplementation, it is best to consult a doctor.
All in All…
Around 60% of Americans add to their daily vitamin intake with supplements. However, only 20% of adults supplement vitamin D. An increase of vitamin D supplementation, even if only in the winter time, can help you feel more like yourself: less achy muscles or bouts of seasonal depression.
Winter doesn’t have to be dreaded. Do your body and mind a favor, and take vitamin D for long and short term health benefits.