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7 Signs You May Have Vitamin D Deficiency

7 Signs You May Have Vitamin D Deficiency

There’s been a lot of focus on vitamin D lately and, in particular, how deficient most of us are. With winter coming up and less sunlight to be exposed to, together with the fact that very few foods contain enough of the vitamin to cover our daily needs, our bodies struggle to produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D needed to keep us at optimal health.

It’s become a massive problem in parts of the world where many people have been advised to take extra supplements due to low vitamin D levels. But what are the signs that you have a vitamin D deficiency? And are some of us more susceptible to low vitamin D levels than others?

With that in mind, there are some signs that you may be suffering from low vitamin D and ways in which you can up the amount of vitamin D in your body.

1. Dark Skin Pigments

Dark skin tones are an advantage when it comes to how our skin burns when we’re out in the sun. The darker the pigment, the more natural sunscreen you have but this can go against you when it comes to getting enough of your vitamin D.

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The more melanin you possess, the less chance UV light can penetrate [1] the skin. In other words, the more pigment you have in your skin, the longer you need to spend in the sun. Take into account the winter months and your amount of potential vitamin D is decreased immensely.

2. Your Mood Is Low

While the sign of a low mood can’t completely determine low vitamin D, it can be an indicator. Serotonin increases and decreases in the brain depending on exposure to light.

This is why many people suffer from depression during winter months but in terms of vitamin D, there has been a link between low levels of vitamin D and high risk of depression in older people. [2] In fact, those with low vitamin D levels were 11 times more likely to suffer from depression.

If you find your mood is consistently low, then it would be advised to go to a doctor and get your vitamin D levels checked out.

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3. You Have Digestion Trouble

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Many gastrointestinal conditions affecting our gut leads to an inability to absorb fat and therefore less able to take in the fat-soluble vitamin D.

No matter how much you take in, your body won’t be able to convert it. Therefore, those suffering from conditions such as Chron’s, celiac and gluten-sensitivity should be aware of low vitamin D in their system.

4. You Are Overweight Or Obese

Those carrying more weight are also more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. A study was conducted that showed with each unit increase in BMI (body mass index) there was a 1.15% decrease in vitamin D levels in the blood. [3]

This is thought to be because of vitamin D’s fat-soluble nature. Since it’s fat-soluble, the body’s fat collects the vitamin D, therefore the more fat you carry, the more likely you’ll need a larger amount of vitamin D compared to someone slimmer.

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5. You Have Aching Bones

Aches and pains are often misdiagnosed by doctors such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. While these could well be the cause, another cause could be low vitamin D. The vitamin D deficiency known as osteomalacia is different to that of osteoporosis and is also previously called rickets in children.

The softening of the bones caused by low vitamin D occurs because the bone mineralisation involving calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D can’t happen optimally and the bones start to weaken causing aches and pains.[4]

6. You Get A Sweaty Head

Believe it or not, one of the first signs of vitamin D deficiency is profuse sweating on the head.

Neuromuscular irritability from low vitamin D is thought to be the cause and can be found in newborn babies if they do not get enough vitamin D. [5]

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7. You’re Aged 50 Or Over

As your skin ages, its ability to absorb vitamin D lessens. Together with this, your kidneys are less efficient over time in converting vitamin D to be passed into the blood.

For people much older, staying indoors more often and not getting sufficient sunlight is also a huge factor in low vitamin D.

Ways You Can Combat Low Vitamin D Levels

If you feel you fall into any of the above categories, here are some tips on getting more vitamin D into your body.

  • Get more sun exposure: An obvious one but making a conscious effort to expose yourself to more sunlight is important to up your vitamin D. It’s also important to be safe while doing so and not to burn your skin – around 15 minutes is enough for an average person so try to up this to 20-25 minutes safely.
  • Use ultraviolet lamps and bulbs: If you live somewhere that doesn’t get much sunlight then consider investing in a UV lamp. While these carry the same risks as a sunbed, careful use can help your body to produce and absorb the vitamin D it needs.
  • Supplements: Taking vitamin D supplements can help up your intake and is a good way to easily incorporate it into your daily routine.
  • Eat more foods containing vitamin D: Foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, canned tuna fish and fortified food and drinks can help to up your intake, however, eating a massive amount of these foods won’t make a difference by itself. Combine these with a vitamin D supplement or extra sunlight if possible.

Featured photo credit: stokpic.com via pexels.com

Reference

[1] http://www.livestrong.com/article/311881-dark-skin-color-vitamin-d/
[2] http://www.ajgponline.org/article/S1064-7481(12)60890-2/abstract
[3] http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/02February/Pages/obesity-may-cause-low-vitamin-D-levels.aspx
[4] http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/osteomalacia/causes.aspx
[5] http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2813%2900404-7/fulltext

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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