To live a healthy life, we need to get all the essential vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem among people, especially those who live in countries that get less sunlight throughout the year. This important nutrient helps with proper calcium absorption and maintains our bones strong. Besides that, vitamin D helps prevent a number of health problems, including digestive issues, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and more. If you want to learn more about different ways to treat vitamin D deficiency, continue reading.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is a problem that often goes untreated for a long time because it’s easy to mistake the symptoms for another health issue. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s definitely a good idea to check your levels of this essential nutrient. It’s important to remember that if you live far from the equator, spend most of your time indoors, and also don’t consume foods rich in vitamin D, it’s more than likely that you have vitamin D deficiency. Its severity should be determined by your doctor in order to proceed with your treatment.
The symptoms that you don’t get enough of this vitamin include the following:
- Excessive fatigue on a regular basis
- Headaches and migraines
- Back pain
- Muscle aches
- Pain in bones
- Slow healing of wounds
- Hair loss
Older people and those with darker skin tones are especially at risk when it comes to this health issue. It’s obviously difficult to tell whether you suffer from vitamin D deficiency based just on these symptoms, as they can be a result of many health imbalances. If you suspect that you may have this problem, you should do a blood test and see if this is the case.
How much vitamin D should we get?
When it comes to how much vitamin D you should get on a daily basis, the answer is not that simple. Different health organizations and institutes recommend different standards. The general agreement is that the intake of 600-800 IU of vitamin D a day is the minimal amount for normal functioning of the body. Some people, especially those who already suffer from a deficiency, may need a large daily dosage – up to 2,000 IU or even higher. Larger dosages of vitamin D obtained from supplements should always be monitored by healthcare professionals.
Don’t underestimate the sunlight
You don’t need to spend hours in the sun to improve your vitamin D deficiency. It only takes about 10-15 minutes of sun exposure for people with fair skin to synthesize vitamin D. Those who have darker skin tones, and thus more melanin in their skin, need to spend more time in the sun to get the right intake of vitamin D. It should be noted that sunscreen and clothing prevents you from receiving this vitamin. Spending a lot of time in the sun while not using sunscreen is certainly a bad idea but 15 minutes of unprotected exposure should be safe for the skin and enough to get your vitamin D. It’s best to avoid sun exposure during the hours when it is at its peak activity and opt for spending time outside during the morning hours or closer to the evening. If you are worried about getting pigmentation on your face, you should wear a hat and expose your arms or legs to make sure you get the vitamin.
Use certain foods to your benefit
Just like other vitamins and nutrients, vitamin D can be obtained from food. The problem is that it’s not as commonly found in foods as some other vitamins. Still, if you are serious about your health and want to improve your deficiency naturally, there are some products that can be helpful.
The products you should consume include:
- Seafood (salmon, tuna, sardines, oysters, shrimp, and others)
- Egg yolks (eggs from free-range chickens are more beneficial)
- Mushrooms, especially wild ones, as they have been exposed to sunlight while growing
- Fortified foods (yogurts, cereals, and other foods with added vitamin D)
- Dark leafy greens
- Beef liver
- Cheddar cheese
- Fortified orange juice
- Fish liver oils (especially cod liver)
Supplements can be an optimum solution
As you can tell from the list above, the number of foods that contain vitamin D is quite limited. Moreover, you need to consume plenty of these foods regularly to make sure that you get enough. The situation is especially complicated for vegetarians and vegans who cannot consume fish and dairy products. Vitamin D supplements can be quite expensive but you can save your money by ordering them from reliable drugstores, such as plateaudrugs. The dosage of the supplement you need to take should be determined by your medical specialist based on your age, weight, and also the severity of your deficiency. In most cases, the daily dosage of up to 4,000 IU is safe for most adults.
Another factor to mention is that vitamin D found in supplements can be derived from two different sources – animal products and plants. Mostly, D3 biological form of vitamin D comes from animals while D2 if obtained from plants. This is something to pay attention when purchasing supplements if you are vegan or vegetarian. You can find both D2 and D3 supplements in pharmacies depending on your preferences and diet.
UV lamp – another effective option
If you have an opportunity, another way you can improve your health is by using a UV lamp. These types of lamps work by imitating the sun exposure as they emit UV-B radiation. It’s an excellent solution for people living in countries with limited sunlight, especially during winter months. The safety precaution when it comes to using this lamp is the same as staying outdoors in the natural sun rays. You should use it for 10-15 minutes a day if you have light skin and slightly more if you have dark skin. A significant drawback of this method compared to taking supplements is the cost, as these types of lamps can be quite expensive.
Vitamin D supports the foundation of your health
Vitamin D deficiency is a significant problem that affects people of all ages and is especially widespread in countries far away from the equator. Paying attention to your health is extremely important and a simple blood test can help you determine whether you get enough vitamin D or not. There are several ways that you can achieve your daily intake of this nutrient but staying in the sun and taking supplements remain the most effective, accessible, and convenient ones for most people.