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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 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

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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