Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency is sometimes easy to find. There’s a reason why parents, teachers and other guardians would always send you outside to play. For one, before there were distractions inside, outside was way more interesting. (Sadly, today things like iPhones, Netflix and video games really take their toll on the treehouse scene.)
For another, they knew it was good for you. (It’s true, your parents were right about something!) That’s the real bitch about the distractions that might keep kids indoors today. The less time kids and adults spend outside, the more prevalent vitamin D deficiency becomes.
Some people are especially prone to vitamin D deficiency and should definitely make an effort to get more sun. Folks over 50, for instance, will have a harder time processing the vitamin because their kidneys may not work as efficiently as they used to. The kidneys, along with the liver, are responsible for activating vitamin D. People with a body mass index over 30 are also at risks, as vitamin D is fat soluble. Too many fat cells will absorb the vitamin and keep it from getting to the blood. If you fall into either of these categories, make a special point to get outside more often.
Get More Sun
Yes, the sunshine vitamin can be obtained through some dietary options. Fortified milk, beef liver, egg yolks and fatty fish like salmon or tuna all contain some levels of vitamin D. But, ask any creature of the night (or consult an educated article such as this one, if you don’t know any vampires), and they’ll tell you that dietary intake of vitamin D won’t cut it. This essential vitamin is best received through exposing the skin to sunlight. If you’re a habitually indoor person, try taking a 20 minute walk outside each day and observe the difference. A little extra sun may help eliminate any of the following common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
Top 3 on the list are:
- Depression Vitamin D regulates adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine controls the brain’s rewards and pleasure centers while serotonin maintains mood balance. Low levels of either of these is known to cause poor moods. Thus, a lack of sunlight is associated with a higher risk of depression. This helps to explain the winter blues, clinically known as seasonal affective disorder.
- Weak or aching bones and muscles Vitamin D helps the body to absorb other necessary minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphate. Hence all of the vitamin D fortified milks and dairy products out there. If you can’t absorb it, what good is the calcium? People who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to fracture bones.
- Fatigue Having excessively low vitamin D may also lead to unexplained fatigue or a foggy mental state. A ten minute jaunt outside during your lunch break can make a huge difference in your work during the afternoon!
These are the biggest indicators when it comes to detecting symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. But, the best way to find whether you need more vitamin D is to get tested by a professional. However, in the end, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by heading outside more often. Check out eating healthy on a budget isn’t impossible here.