Do you know what your Vitamin D levels are? My guess is that if you are a female living in the northern hemisphere and don’t take a vitamin supplement, it’s probably low. However, even if you live elsewhere, it’s very likely that you too are experiencing low levels of the vitamin. What you may not know is that low Vitamin D levels may be a cause of fatigue as well as a whole host of problems.
2017 was the Year of Me. The year that I vowed to stop feeling exhausted all the time and find the energy to do all the things I wanted and needed to do. During my quest to feel better, our workplace clinic doctor drew my blood to test my levels. An optimal level would be about 50, under 30 is considered a deficit. My level was 13 which is very low. Increasing my Vitamin D levels, according to my doctor, was an essential component of regaining my energy.
According to Web MD, low Vitamin D levels are associated with cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment and cancer. Research also suggests that having an adequate supply of the vitamin could help prevent diabetes, hypertension, gluten intolerance and muscular dystrophy.
Increasing your Vitamin D levels
If your doctor diagnoses you with low Vitamin D, he or she may prescribe a short-term, high-level dosage to get you closer to the optimal level. My doctor had me take one pill a week for eight weeks of 50,000 IUs. Once I completed that regimen, she told me to take one pill a day of 5,000 IUs. Of course, I’m not telling you what YOU should be doing, just what my doctor is having me do. There is a difference of opinion as to how much is too much so do your own research and talk to your doctor before taking increased amounts of the vitamin.
There are three ways to increase your levels.
- Take a daily supplement. As I said, I take 5,000 IUs a day based on my doctor’s advice. One thing that I did read is that Vitamin D supplements should be taken in the morning as they are a melatonin suppressant. Melatonin helps us sleep so if you are taking Vitamin D in the evening you may find that it is affecting your sleep.
- Increase your exposure to sunshine. Of course, you need to balance this with too much exposure to the sun! Typically, fair-skinned people need 5 – 10 minutes out in the noon-time sun without sunscreen to get adequate exposure. The darker your skin, the longer you will need.
- Eat food high in Vitamin D. Fatty Fish are an excellent source of Vitamin D with salmon containing some of the highest levels. Rainbow Trout, Whitefish and Mackerel are also high in Vitamin D. If you don’t like fish, consider eating or drinking foods fortified with Vitamin D. Milk, cereal and orange juice usually contain extra amounts of the vitamin.
Once you start increasing your daily intake, it may take a while to feel the results. Typically, if you have a deficiency it could take a month or more to feel the benefits. However, according to LiveStrong, it could take up to a year to feel the full effects depending upon the reason for deficiency, type of symptoms and the aggressiveness of treatment.
So what are you waiting for? Start increasing your Vitamin D intake and start feeling better!