I recently got blood work done, and was surprised to learn that I had a vitamin D deficiency. Through research, I discovered that vitamin D affects our health in many more ways than I anticipated! As the temperatures drop, our vitamin D levels are particularly pertinent because one of the main ways we get vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight. More time indoors means our bodies create less naturally occurring vitamin D.
Here’s why you should care about your Vitamin D levels.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiencies
• Weak immune system
• Fatigue and lack of energy
• Bone and back pain
• Depression and anxiety
• Slow healing of wounds
• Bone loss
• Hair loss
• Muscle pain
Identifying a Deficiency
If you identify with any of the symptoms above, then you should see your primary care physician to get a blood test done to check your vitamin D levels. Certain factors make you at a higher risk for a deficiency as well, such as a vegan diet (void of foods containing vitamin D such as dairy, eggs, and fish), lack of exposure to sunlight, or being a woman.
Correcting a Deficiency
Correcting a vitamin D deficiency is relatively easy.
If you are significantly deficient, then your doctor can prescribe you a stronger dose of vitamin D supplement. However, vitamin D is available in many dosage levels over the counter as well.
You can also be intentional about exposure to sunlight. 20 minutes of sunlight a day is the recommended amount for the body to healthily produce the amount of vitamin D needed in most adults. However, wearing sunscreen or protective clothing can reduce the effects of sunlight exposure.
There are also certain foods that are high in vitamin D that can help supplement your levels, such as fortified dairy and grains, fish, and certain vegetables such as mushrooms.
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned you may have a vitamin D deficiency, and together you can put together the best plan for you and your health.
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