5 signs you're not getting
enough Vitamin D
By Karla Walsh @ Prevention.com
You eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, sweat several times a week, and slather on the SPF before catching any rays. You're making healthy choices in nearly every aspect of your life, but could be neglecting one very important issue that increases your risk for high blood pressure and diabetes by two and a half times, says Michael Holick, MD, author of TheVitamin D Solution and professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University Medical Center. In fact, one billion people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
"Insurance and Medicaid often cover a blood test," says Carole Beggarly, director of Grassroots Health, a non-profit that aims to increase awareness about vitamin D deficiency (and how to fix it). "It's helpful to be thorough and see where you're at so you know how much to supplement." If the assay, the most commonly ordered blood test ordered in the US, finds that you're low in D, talk to your doctor about supplementation. (It will likely take the form of about 600 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, which is chemically the same as the vitamin your body produces with the sun's help.)
Whether you get pricked or decide to pass, here are the top 5 signs that you might be d-ficient.
1. Excessive sweatingIt's often difficult to tell if newborns are deficient, but a sweaty forehead is one of the first noticeable symptoms, Holick says. The same rings true for adults, so if you're "glowing" while your activity level remains steady, your temperature is close to 98.6° and you're in a moderate temperature environment, you may want to consider a vitamin D test.
2. Noticeable—and unexpected—weaknessMuscle strength isn't just a matter of pumping iron. While having avitamin D deficiency can leave you feeling overly exhausted, even when you're able to get enough shut-eye, proper vitamin D intake helps you maintain power in every fiber of your being, whether you're young or old. Harvard researchers have linked vitamin D supplementation with increased muscle control, resulting in 20% fewer falls among adults around 60 years old. (Learn how to up your vitamin D intake and boost fat loss up to 70% with The Vitamin D Diet.) Promising news: Within just six months of supplementation, D-linked muscle weakness can be eliminated, according to a Western Journal of Medicine study.
4. Chronic pain"It's often subtle, but some experience aches and pains in the bones, known as osteomalacia," Holick says. Those who are diagnosed with arthritis or fibromyalgia may actually be shy of enough D, as a deficiency can cause joints and muscles to ache, too. If your discomfort lasts for several weeks, ask your doctor if a vitamin D deficiency could be the cause—and if your treatment program should include the vitamin. Also worth noting: adequate vitamin D can prevent post-workout pain and increase the speed of muscle recovery, Beggarly adds.
5. Broken bonesYou stop building bone mass around age 30, and a lack of vitamin D can speed up or worsen osteoporosis symptoms, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fortification, first introduced around 1930, almost eradicated the weak bone condition rickets, however, "it's nearly impossible for anyone to satisfy vitamin Dneeds through diet. It really requires a three-pronged attack: sun exposure, supplements, and food," Holick says.