Did you know, over 80% of people in the United States do not have adequate vitamin D levels in their body? We have studied over 250 patients in our practice and found five out of ten patients tested have vitamin D levels which are completely below the optimum range. The other 20% are just barely within the normal range, but are still suboptimal. It’s time to change those numbers!
Vitamin D, a fat soluble hormone, is essential to develop strong bones, boost the immune system, and aid in other important processes in the body. It is usually made by our skin in response to sunlight, but can also be obtained in our diet. Vitamin D deficiency can also result in a number of symptoms that may be confused for other medical causes. Listen to your body — does it need more vitamin D?
10 SIGNS YOU NEED MORE VITAMIN D
- Bone pain. Vitamin D is an essential component to bone health and bone healing. When the bone is not as strong as it could be, chronic aching, deep bone pain can exist.
- Osteoporosis. Vitamin D is essential along with weight-bearing exercises, calcium, magnesium, and overall good nutrition for strong healthy bones.
- Disc degeneration. The shock absorbing discs in the spine are made of collagen. There are chemical receptors for vitamin D on these discs. Multiple recent studies demonstrated that people with low vitamin D have an increased finding of degenerative disc disease.
- Periodontal disease. The disease of the soft tissue around the teeth in your mouth can be associated with low vitamin D levels. Dental health, including periodontal disease, can be associated with low vitamin D. It is also, of course, very important that you floss and brush your teeth on a regular basis.
- Cancer. There is an association with increased cancer risks in many types of cancer with low vitamin D levels. Some cancers that had been associated with low vitamin D levels include breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and colorectal cancers.
- Fibromyalgia. The chronic aching and soreness deep in muscles, often associated with fibromyalgia, has also been associated with low vitamin D levels. This is also associated with hypothyroidism. Levels of vitamin D, as well as thyroid hormone, should be checked and evaluated for patients who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
- Chronic infections. Vitamin D is often used for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. The flu and other respiratory infections often are more prevalent in the winter months when we are not exposed to the sun as frequently. There is an association between these respiratory viral infections and having low vitamin D levels.
- Depression. Low vitamin D levels are associated with depression. Seasonal affective disorder, depression or “the blues” in the fall and winter seasons, is often associated with low vitamin D levels due to less sunlight. Less sunlight leads to low vitamin D levels that can lead to depression. I know many people who have improved or alleviated signs of depression once optimizing their vitamin D levels. Of course this should be treated in conjunction with your physician.
- Gastrointestinal disorders. Diverticulitis is known to be much more common in patients with low vitamin D levels. It is very likely related to poor collagen synthesis and weaker intestinal walls leading towards the defects that subsequently cause diverticulitis.
- Forehead sweating. One of the first classic signs of vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty forehead. In the past, physicians would ask new mothers about excessive head sweating in their newborns for this very reason. Excessive sweating in newborns may be related to neuromuscular irritability and lead toward sweating. This is often described as an early symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
Noting how prevalent vitamin D deficiency is in our world today, it makes sense to optimize your vitamin D level! Schedule a blood test to determine your vitamin D levels and then optimize your vitamin D to the upper, normal range by taking supplements, focusing your diet and getting more sunlight exposure to help decrease these symptoms.