We all know about Vitamin D – the “sunshine vitamin” which is so good for your bones and teeth. And, what better way to get Vitamin D than from a glass of fortified milk!
Yessiree – I am all set.
But, I bet that you didn’t know that Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more prevalent in our society. Estimates suggest that it affects over 40% of adults. And, women are more prone to Vitamin D insufficiency. Why? Partially because we have limited outdoor activities (or wear sunshine religiously). And, our diet is in dire need of improvement.
What are some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
- Gum disease – you may notice that you have more bleeding of the gums.
- Mood swings or feeling down- Vitamin D is important in the production of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite and sleep.
- Sleepiness – as I mentioned Vitamin D is important in the production of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are associated with sleepiness. Also, serotonin is converted to melatonin – and low levels of melatonin can also impact your sleep cycle.
NO WONDER YOUR TIRED.
- High Blood Pressure – although the exact mechanism is not well understood. There is evidence that people with high blood pressure have lower levels of Vitamin D.
- Muscular and bone weakness – we’ve all heard about how Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, but it is also implicated on muscle weakness as well.
There are many other symptoms – so it worth getting your tested when you go see your physician.
What are some ways to increase your intake of Vitamin D?
- Well, obviously you can take Vitamin D3 capsules (generally no more than 4,000 IU / day – unless advised to increase it by your physician). Vitamin D3 is the active form of the nutrient / hormone. The best way to take this is with a meal as it is fat soluble.
- So, why doesn’t fortified milk work? Well, almost all milk in the US is fortified with 400 IU of Vitamin D (per quart) – which mean to get the necessary amount of Vitamin D – you would have to drink 10 quarts of milk!
I like milk – but, not that much!
- Eat more fatty fish like salmon (360 IU/3.5 ounce serving). Again, you would need to eat quite a few servings.
- I think the best way is to get 15- 30 minutes of sun exposure about 3 times a week. If you are fair skinned – it is estimated that, with the midday summer sun, your body can produce about 10,000 IU in just 10 minutes. If you have darker skin – it takes longer. And, because it is fat soluble – your body stores it for future use as well.
So, check with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. If you go the supplementation route – it is important to know how much of the vitamin you will need.
REMEMBER – the information here is only for general reference and is not meant to be taken as medical advice or used for diagnosis and treatment. Always talk with your health care professional before taking supplements.