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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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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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