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Let the Sunshine In – Vitamin D Deficiency and Your Health

By Dian Brannen, 4:50 pm on

Over the past couple of years I have been feeling under the weather.  It didn’t come on all at once but little by little over the course of a couple of years.  I started complaining that my head felt foggy, my joints became stiff and achy, fluttering heart, I was tired all the time.  This winter my latest complaint was that I was sicker than usual.  Normally, I would average one cold in the winter and one in the summer.  This winter though it seemed like I had one cold after the other.  I knew all these signs and symptoms were not normal for me, something had to be wrong!  All the possibilities of what it could be wrong with me kept running through my head, “Do I have arthritis, chronic fatigue, Lyme’s disease, some other autoimmune disease, thyroid, menopause, depression?”  I would scour the internet for answers and would only to find another 5 diseases or syndromes it could be.  For a while I even chalked it up to turning 45.  If this is what 45 feels like what is 55, 65, going to feel like?  Then I truly did become depressed.

I had brought up my concerns with my primary physician and my gynecologist.  After doing some blood work up they both chalked it up to stress, having 5 young children and not getting enough sleep.  One prescribed testosterone cream and the other prescribed Ambien (neither relieved any of the symptoms).  Getting fed up I switched doctors.  At my first visit I informed my physician of my list of complaints/concerns.  Again, a battery of test were ordered.  One by one the tests came back and one by one things were ruled out.  Arthritis? No.  Thyroid? No.  Menopause? No. Lyme’s Disease? No and so on and so on.  I should have been relieved but I was beginning to panic more than ever.  I just wanted someone to tell me I wasn’t crazy and what I was feeling wasn’t “all in my head”!

When I went back for the follow up doctor’s appointment she finally had an answer for me and was I ever surprised!  She told me I had low Vitamin D and told me to take 5,000 mg a day of Vitamin D3.

After a 3 months of taking 5,000 mg D3 a day I am feeling much better (still a little tired but I will chalk that up to having 5 children) and since then have been researching and talking with other people about the importance of Vitamin D and what a vital nutrient it is to our bodies and how people these days are getting less and less of it.

In my research I found that Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong and healthy bones and that vitamin D may be important for many other reasons as well.  . Recent research is now showing that vitamin D may be important in preventing and treating a number of serious long term health problems.

Some of the functions of the body that vitamin D helps with include:

Some of the functions of the body that vitamin D helps with include:

  • Immune system, which helps you to fight infection
  • Muscle function
  • Cardiovascular function, for a healthy heart and circulation
  • Respiratory system –for healthy lungs and airways
  • Brain development
  • Anti-cancer effects

A lack of vitamin D has also been linked to some other conditions such as cancer, asthma, type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and type-I diabetes.

Your body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight or you can also get vitamin D from supplements.  Only a very small amount comes from a few foods you eat.

Seniors are at higher risk for low Vitamin D due to several different factors:

  • Seniors may spend a lot of time indoors during the day especially in the winter months.
  • Seniors may also be more likely to cover their skin all of the time either by using sunscreen or clothing when outside.
  • Older people also have thinner skin than younger people and this may mean that they can’t produce as much vitamin D
  • Also, if they live in the North of the United States or Canada. This is because there are fewer hours of overhead sunlight the further away you are from the equator.

For more information and resources check out The Vitamin D Council’s Web-site at www.vitamindcouncil.org

Now it’s time for me to go get some sun!!!