Hot bods and flip flops are great, but did you know that soaking up the sun is necessary for your body to function properly? Sunshine provides us with vitamin D, an important nutrient that is crucial to skin, bone, and brain health. And as much as many of us like spending time outdoors, about half of the general population is vitamin D deficient, increasing our risk of a chronic disease.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels may help you prevent cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, infections, mental health conditions, and more. Recognizing deficiency symptoms early could quite literally save your life.
Here are 7 warning signs you shouldn’t ignore…
Your Bones Ache
People with aches, pains, and tiredness are often diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. However, these symptoms are also typical manifestations of a vitamin D deficiency. The lack of this vitamin results in less calcium absorption by the skeletal system. This can cause an aching, throbbing pain in the bones. Mounting evidence also points to vitamin D being effective at preventing tooth cavities.
Your Muscles Are Weak
Muscle strength isn’t just about weight lifting. In fact, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with muscle weakness, and researchers at Harvard have found that vitamin D supplementation can increase muscle control significantly, with adults over 60 reporting 20% fewer falls. According to the Western Journal of Medicine, D-linked muscle weakness can be eliminated within just six months with supplements.
Serotonin is the hormone linked to mood and wellbeing. It is stimulated by sunlight and drops with lessened exposure. In recent studies, people with the least amounts of vitamin D were more likely to be depressed than those who had ample doses. Studies also link low vitamin D levels in the blood with other mood disorders besides depression, like premenstrual syndrome and seasonal affective disorder.
Your Head Sweats
According to medical professionals, a sweaty head is one of the classic symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. This is why in the past doctors used to ask new moms if their newborns had this symptom, and excessive sweating in newborn babies is still considered an early and common symptom today. If your head is constantly sweaty or you find that it sweats excessively, you may need more vitamin D.
You Have Chronic Health Problems
If you have chronic health problems and are prone to seasonal illnesses, your vitamin D levels may be too low. An Asian study of kids supplementing 1,200 units daily during winter lessened their risk of the flu by around 40 percent. Actually, recent research indicates that vitamin D plays a much bigger role in fighting disease than once thought. Being deficient can increase your risk of cancer and other deadly diseases.
You Feel Exhausted
Constantly tired and can’t figure out why? A lack of vitamin D has been identified in patients with fatigue in some studies, and once vitamin D levels were corrected, patients felt considerably more energetic. In actual fact, medical researchers suspect that vitamin D deficiency and chronic fatigue syndrome are closely linked. A simple blood test can determine if you are getting enough vitamin D each day.
You Have Dark Skin
African Americans and people with dark skin are significantly more likely to be vitamin D deficient, say professionals, because the skin’s pigment acts as a natural sunscreen. In fact, a person with dark skin is said to need ten times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as someone with a light complexion. A SPF30 sunscreen can reduce the skin’s ability to produce the vitamin by over 95 percent.