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6 Reasons Why Vitamin D Is So Important To Your Body

6 Reasons Why Vitamin D Is So Important To Your Body

If you have ever wondered why so many products — like milk and some cereals — are fortified with Vitamin D, this is because this vitamin can be hard to come by from regular food sources. This is unfortunate, because this vitamin is incredibly important for many health functions, including the health of your bones, muscles and teeth and even your immune system.  And if your body does not get this nutrient in sufficient amounts, there can be a wide range of health problems that follow, including those below:

1. Achy, Weak Muscles

Muscles rely on certain amounts of vitamin D in order to function properly. When the vitamin is not there, this can cause sore, achy and weak muscles. The is the kind of feeling you often get when you have a viral infection like the flu.  The pain can vary from fairly mild to severe and tends to get worse over time if the deficiency is not corrected.

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2. Headaches and Dizziness

These symptoms are common with high blood pressure, which is also a common complaint from those with vitamin D deficiency. High blood pressure, however, is often called a “silent killer” because, although it is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, some people have no warning signs at all.  However, if you are having headaches and dizziness and you suspect that your blood pressure may be high, you should definitely talk to your doctor.

3. Frequent Infections

If you notice that you struggle with frequent urinary infections or with respiratory problems like the cold or the flu, then chances are your immune system might not be as strong as it should be. One reason for this could be a lack of vitamin D, which is found in high concentration in immune system cells and is needed for them to function. In one study, it was found that children who had high levels of this nutrient in their system had less chance of acquiring a cold or the flu.

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4. Tummy Troubles

If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or if you simply have problems with things like heartburn or constipation, vitamin D might slow down how fast your body can push through the food that you eat. There is a definite link between digestive problems like celiac and other condition.

5. Excessive Sweat

If you notice that you sweat excessively but that there is no obvious cause for it, such as a fever, warm day or strenuous workout, you should also report this to the doctor as well. There is actually no good explanation for why low vitamin D levels can cause this problem, but it has been pretty well-established in the medical literature, anyways.

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6. Feeling Blue

Another less well-known symptom of vitamin D is depression, with its symptoms of feeling sad, worthless or just plain blue.  However, the good news is that once vitamin D levels are restored, these problems will often disappear and you can return to normal life.

Bonus: How to Restore Low Levels of Vitamin D

If you suspect that you might be low on vitamin D, report this problem to your doctor: a simple blood test will answer the question as to whether or not a deficiency is causing the problem.  And the good news is that there are plenty of simple lifestyle changes you can make that can help you raise your low vitamin levels, including:

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  • Eating foods that are rich in vitamin D, either because they contain it naturally or they have been fortified. These include egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver or some cheeses. Fortified dairy, cereals, juices or other fortified plant-based drinks (such almond milk).
  • Supplementing with vitamin D capsules.  Generally, it is recommended that adults under 70 need 600 IUs a day while those over 70 need 800 IUs. However, if a doctor it treating a patient for a deficiency — especially if it is severe — he or she might prescribe up to 4,000 IU’s daily until the problem is resolved.
  • Exposing yourself to sunlight is another excellent way to get vitamin D into your body.  If you are the kind of person who wears sunscreen all the time, this might see a bit hard at first. But if you can get an get 15 minutes’ worth of sun exposure for 3 times a week, this can really help you restore those levels.

In short, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common of vitamin deficiencies and there can be serious health consequences for this. The goods news, however, is that eating a diet rich in this nutrient and getting exposed to sunlight several times a week can often help restore those levels to normal!

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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