Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin, since the most natural source of it is acquired through sun exposure. This is great unless you live in an area, such as the Pacific Northwest, where we see more cloud coverage than sunshine most days out of the year. However, we are not the only ones at a greater risk of being deficient in Vitamin D. About 1 billion people worldwide is said to be Vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to help build strong bones, to allow us to absorb calcium and phosphorus for bone development, and to help ward off infections and diseases. Unlike all other vitamins, Vitamin D is fat soluble and acts like a hormone, effecting the entire body.
Some risk factors for Vitamin D deficiency are if you:
Being deficient in Vitamin D is not always easy to detect on your own. Most symptoms can be subtle or mistaken as symptoms for another health-related condition. If you have some of the above risk factors, you may want to take a closer look at some of the common signs of Vitamin D deficiencies.
Here are some common effects of not getting enough Vitamin D:
If you feel that you may not be getting enough Vitamin D, consult with your Doctor and have them run a test on your Vitamin D levels. If your levels are low, they will prescribe that you increase your Vitamin D intake.
The best sources to get Vitamin D are by:
With supplements, ask your doctor or nutritionist about the amount you should take. Most recommend between 400 – 4,000 IUs depending on your current levels. As with everything, always consult with a health care professional, rather than self-diagnosing and prescribing.
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.