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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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