As someone who has lived in the arctic tundra known as Minneapolis, MN for most of my adult life, I know a thing or two about Vitamin D deficiency. Everyone from a northern climate knows the difference in energy, physical performance, and mental clarity during the summer months compared to the winter. During my extensive biohacking journey, I’ve learned a lot about the huge role Vitamin D plays in our performance and overall health.
With that in mind… My friend Ronnie Burg has written a great article on Vitamin D deficiency and how to get your levels back to optimal. She has a lot of great information to share, so make sure you read it all!
Take is away Ronnie Burg!
(this is where I stop writing and Ronnie starts…)
Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins our bodies can produce for itself, although it requires the help of sunlight exposure. The chemical reaction that stimulates vitamin D synthesis is triggered when the sun’s ultraviolet rays reach the body. Only ten minutes of sunlight exposure per day is required to produce your body’s daily required amount of vitamin D.
Vitamin D can also be found in some foods but is not typically present naturally. Vitamin D is sometimes added to food products, including fish, orange juice, and milk. Receiving adequate amounts of vitamin D is especially important for older adults at risk for osteoporosis and younger children whose bones are still developing.
How Vitamin D Works in the Body
Getting enough Vitamin D is essential to keep our bodies healthy. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and also maintains levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
Calcium is necessary for strong bones. Did you know that calcium also regulates nerve impulses and helps blood clotting? In addition, calcium plays a role in controlling how permeable our cell membranes are – this is essential for ensuring important nutrients can enter and exit our cells. Calcium is also partially responsible for enzyme activation, nutrient absorption, and muscle contraction.
Phosphorus is another mineral that acts as an energy source, in addition to strengthening our bones. Phosphorus also aids in cell metabolism and regulates the pH balance of fluids in our bodies.
Signs of a Vitamin D Deficiency
Too little vitamin D can cause serious health problems, including osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children. Vitamin D deficiency is particularly prevalent in vegans, vegetarians who do not consume dairy products, and those who have an allergy to milk or are lactose intolerant.
If you’ve been experiencing any of the following signs, you could have a vitamin D deficiency.
- Sore bones and muscles. Do you constantly have a bad backache? Are your muscles sore even if you haven’t exerted very much energy? There can be many factors contributing to bone and muscle soreness, and vitamin D deficiency is one of them.
- Erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction (ED) doesn’t just affect men who are older. ED can affect men of any age, especially those with a vitamin D deficiency. Men who had ED as a result of vitamin D deficiency may also have cardiovascular disease, according to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Some cases of cardiovascular disease can be partially attributed to vitamin D deficiency.
- Trouble sleeping. If you have a hard time getting to sleep at night, you may have a vitamin D deficiency. Again, several factors can contribute to difficulties falling asleep, including excess exposure to LED or smartphone lights, caffeine consumption before bed, stress, and much If the problem is persistent, though, it could be caused by vitamin D deficiency.
- Weakened immune system. If you seem to get sick every time there’s a bug going around, this may be an indication of vitamin D deficiency. If you tend to stay sick with common ailments such as a cold or flu for longer than average, this could be a warning sign of vitamin D deficiency.
- Constant fatigue. Do you feel tired all the time, even when you’ve had a good night’s sleep and eaten well? This may be an indication of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency plays a big part in sleep disorders and fatigue levels.
- Persistent sweaty forehead. This is a bit of a weird one, but a forehead that stays sweaty most of the time is a classic sign of vitamin D deficiency.
- Stress fractures. If you have a high risk of developing stress fractures, or if you have experienced several stress fractures, you may have vitamin D deficiency. Bone weakness can be a classic sign of calcium deficiency, but, without vitamin D, your body can’t absorb calcium normally.
If you experience several of the above symptoms, you may want to consult a doctor or health professional to find out if you have a vitamin D deficiency.
What to Do if You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency
An easy solution to vitamin D deficiency is daily exposure to the sun. But, in the winter months, the sun isn’t usually out often enough to trigger vitamin D synthesis. Additionally, getting out in the sun every day may not be possible for everyone.
Certain groups have a higher risk for experiencing vitamin D deficiency, including:
- Infants who are exclusively breastfed
- People who have dark skin
- Obese adults and those who have had gastric bypass surgery
- Mature adults at risk for osteoporosis
- Adults diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease
- People with conditions associated with improper absorption of fat molecules
- Vegetarians who do not consume dairy products
- Those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance
Since vitamin D is not easily found in most foods and is only produced when out in the sun, people within these groups, in particular, may require a vitamin D supplement.
This supplement offers 2000 IU of vitamin D and includes a mix of other essential vitamins. This multivitamin is the perfect option for vegetarians who struggle with receiving adequate vitamin intake from their diets. Take one capsule per day with your meal. The meal should contain healthy fats or else the vitamins will not bind properly. Consult a healthcare professional before purchasing and consuming this supplement, as it may react with other prescription medications.
If you do not receive adequate vitamin D intake, the D3-50 Cholecalciferol supplement from BioTech will help you meet your daily requirement.
You should always consult your doctor or healthcare professional before taking any supplements. In healthy adults, vitamin supplements can cause vitamin overdose or can react with other prescription medications. Vitamin D supplements may also cause complications in women who are pregnant or lactating.
If you are experiencing several of the signs of vitamin D deficiency or if believe you are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor today. A vitamin D supplement may be right for you.
Barassi, A., MD, Pezzilli, R., MD, Colpi, G. M., MD, Corsi Romanelli, M. M., MD, & Melzi d’Eril, G. V., MD. (2014, November). Vitamin D and Erectile Dysfunction. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from http://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(15)30597-X/abstract
Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
About The Author
Ronnie is a health fanatic and loves all things chia and flax. When she isn’t writing, you can find her kayaking with her corgi, Buffy.