Those Who Live Farther Away From The Equator
Countries close to the equator get plenty of sunlight all year round. Conversely, countries farther away from the equator get less sunlight all year round.
This can cause low blood vitamin D levels, especially during winter months when there is even less sunlight.
For instance, a study of Norwegians discovered that they dont produce much vitamin D3 from their skin during the winter months of October to March .
If you live far from the equator, then you need to get more vitamin D from your diet and supplements. Many experts believe that people in these countries should consume at least 1,000 IU daily .
Whos At Risk Of Low Vitamin D
- People who are not often outdoors, for example, those who have to shield or live in a care home
- People who cover a lot of their skin when outdoors
- People with darker skin, for example those who are Black or Asian
- People following a plant-based diet, as a lot of food that naturally has vitamin D is fish, red meat and eggs
You Cant Get A Good Nights Sleep
Researchers found that people with sleep disorders who took vitamin D supplements improved the quality of their zsthey fell asleep faster and slept longer, according to a study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience. Of course, getting enough shut-eye every night can boost your health, but so can these other vitamin D benefits that could save your life.
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Role In Other Diseases
Low vitamin D levels can also contribute to other fatigue-inducing diseases, making you want to sleep more than usual. Vitamin D levels worsen the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. This can contribute to severe fatigue, feeling tired even after a good night’s rest, as well as irritability and moodiness. Low vitamin D levels also correlate with symptoms of depression, according to a study published in the November 2013 issue of “The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.” Depression can affect your sleep cycle and make you want to sleep longer hours.
Being Sick Or Getting Infections Often
One of vitamin Ds most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so youre able to fight viruses and bacteria that cause illness.
It directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection .
Several large observational studies have shown a link between a deficiency and respiratory tract infections such as colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia .
A number of studies have found that taking vitamin D supplements at a dosage of up to 4,000 IU daily may reduce your risk of developing a respiratory tract infection .
Vitamin D plays important roles in immune function. One of the most common symptoms of a deficiency is an increased risk of illness or infections.
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Sufficient Supply Of Vitamin D3 Is Important For Proper Human Cell Functions And Stress Response
Following light activation in the skin and further enzymatic processing, the active metabolite 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 of vitamin D3-precursor, also called calcitriol, is synthetized from the immediate pro-hormone 25-hydroxycholecalciferol by the enzyme cytochrome p450-hydroxylase27B1 . The reaction is mediated in the kidneys by parathormone and is calcium-dependent . This endocrine pathway serves in the tight regulation of serum calcium levels . However, most cells also convert 25OHD3 to active 1,252D3, which serves as a para-, or autocrine transcription factor binding to many gene loci . In addition, 1,252D3, in an epigenetic way, directly influences cell signals and cell functions . 1,252D3 is an important cell regulator and influences cell development, differentiation, proliferation and cell-cycle control . Various kinds of cell stress cause activation of the vitamin D pathway, and generation of 1,252D3 requires sufficient supply of the precursor 25OHD3 in order to establish an effective protective response .
Are You At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Did you know that according to national surveys taken out across the UK, approximately 1 in 5 of the population has low vitamin D levels?
It isnt surprising really when you think about it. Our bodies can only make vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight, which may be possible in summer for some people, but becomes difficult for everyone during the darker winter months.
You can also get vitamin D from animal produce like meat, fish dairy and eggs, which are either naturally high in vitamin D or have been fortified with vitamin D .
Other foods like breakfast cereals, fruit juices, faux meat, plant milks are often fortified . Wild mushrooms and those grown under a UV light are also great sources of vitamin D2.
People who do not get outside much, have dark skin, like to cover up, or do not eat animal products are naturally at more of a risk of vitamin D deficiency.
This is why the government now advise that everybody should think about taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly in the Autumn and Winter months.
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Get Out In The Sunshine More
Most people can make enough vitamin D by simply being out in the sun every day for short periods of time with their hands, forearms or lower legs uncovered and without sun protection you dont have to go and sun it up in a bikini .
However, there is no definitive answer to how long you have to stay out in the sun for because everyone is different.
Skin colour and skin exposure play a big part in how much vitamin D your skin will absorb, e.g. people with dark skin such as those from an African, Caribbean or South Asian origin will need to spend longer exposed in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as somebody with lighter skin.
You also need to make sure you dont burn in the sun, so make sure you always have sun protection and sunglasses handy for when it gets super sunny and you can feel your skin getting red or burnt.
Please seek shade if you plan to be out in the sun for a long time the longer you stay in the sun unprotected, the greater your risk of skin cancer is.
Your body cannot make vitamin D with sunlight that shines through a window the glass will block the ultraviolet B rays from getting to your skin.15
If you think you are at risk, seek advice from a medical professional or ask your Doctor for a blood test to assess your Vitamin D levels. With your Doctors support, start taking a quality vitamin D3 supplement to meet UK Government guidelines.
You Catch Everything Going Around
Colds, viruses, the flu: You name it, you get it. But you might not have known that these could actually be vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with depressed immune systems, says Dr. Jackson. Youll catch whatever is going around if your immune system isnt functioning properly. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that adults who have low levels of vitamin D had a 58 percent higher chance of catching an acute respiratory infection. Higher levels of vitamin D may also help decrease recovery time from the flu. Dont miss these other ways your body is trying to tell you its running low on key vitamins.
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What Does It Mean To Have A Vitamin D Deficiency
A vitamin D deficiency is, simply, when you dont have enough vitamin D in your body. In winter and when we’re spending more time indoors, we arent able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight, and we may need to top it up.
Some people will never get high enough vitamin D levels from sunlight as they dont get enough exposure to the sun. In these cases, its recommended to take a daily vitamin D supplement all year round.
With lockdown measures still in place across the UK, we need to stay home as much as possible. But were allowed to spend time outside to exercise, which on sunny days could be an excellent boost for your vitamin D, as well as providing other health benefits.
Those Over The Age Of 50
If you are over 50, you lose some of your natural ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure making you one of the most at risk groups. Your kidneys also become less efficient at converting the vitamin, making it important to stay active and spend plenty of time outside in your 50s, 60s, and beyond. Read more about the importance of vitamin D when youre older here.
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And A Deficiency Of This Prohormone Could Be Part Of The Reason You Experience Fatigue
Way back in 1922 researchers didnt have a clear idea of the difference between hormones and vitamins. Which is why vitamin D got labeled as a vitamin it was the fourth vitamin discovered that prevented disease. But the modern understanding of the D vitamin shows this substance to be much more than a vitamin. Vitamin D has hormonal effects on your body.
Without it, youd experience no shortage of adverse effects including Ricketts. In todays developed world, intense levels of vitamin D deficiencies like those found in Ricketts are rare. While Ricketts may be on the decline, sub-clinical vitamin D deficiencies are still very common in the first world.
Its these sub-clinical levels of vitamin D deficiency that could be causing your fatigue. In todays post, well explore all the nuances to vitamin D. Ill show you how to ensure you never experience any vitamin D related fatigue!
How Much Vitamin D Per Day Do I Need
The NHS recommends around 10 micrograms a day.
It is recommended to take supplements containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during autumn and winter, and throughout the year for those who are not often outdoors.
Taking more than 100 micrograms a day could be harmful to your health. This applies to adults, children, the elderly, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.6
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Complications Of Vitamin D Deficiency
It is important to consult a healthcare professional if one suspects vitamin D deficiency, because the condition increases the likelihood of developing certain problems. The most commonly experienced problems related to vitamin D deficiency are skeletal disorders diseases related to the growth and strength of oneâs bones.
Being deficient in vitamin D can also render the body less robust and heighten the likelihood of accidents occurring:
- Vitamin D deficiency increases the likelihood of breaking a bone in people of any age
- Elderly people with hypovitaminosis D are more likely to fall, trip or stumble
Health complications which are associated with vitamin D deficiency include:
How Can I Raise My Vitamin D Levels
There are three ways to boost your vitamin D levels:
- Get more sunshine You should get 20-60 minutes of sun every day, depending on your skin tone and latitude. The more skin exposed, the more vitamin D your body produces.
- Dietary sources Be sure to include salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and egg yolks in your diet. Wild-caught fish have higher levels of vitamin D, as do the eggs of free-range chickens.
- Supplements Opt for vitamin D3 instead of vitamin D2, as D3 is twice as effective at boosting vitamin D levels in the body. Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is best taken in an oil-based soft gel capsule or with a meal that includes fat.
Current mainstream dosage guidelines for vitamin D are based solely on maintaining proper bone density and not on preventing chronic health conditions. For autoimmune management, doses of vitamin D can range from 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day. It is best to test your levels every three to six months to ensure you are taking the proper amount of vitamin D.
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When To See A Doctor
Most people do not realize that theyre vitamin D deficient, as symptoms are generally subtle. You may not recognize them easily, even if theyre significantly affecting your quality of life.
As a rule of thumb, you may consider asking your doctor to check for vitamin D deficiency if you notice any possible symptoms and have any risk factors. They can check your vitamin D levels with a blood test.
Your doctor may also help rule out other causes behind some of the symptoms youre experiencing.
Broken Bones And Stress Fractures
Bone fractures that don’t heal quickly are another sign , Gittleman says.
Thats because one of the critical roles of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium, which supports bone health, according to the NIH. Research indicates that adequate vitamin D and calcium levels can promote healthy bones and help prevent osteoporosis, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published August 2020 in Medicine found that supplementing with vitamin D and calcium reduced the incidence of both falls and fractures in the study participants.
According to the National Institute on Aging, people tend to stop building bone mass around age 30, so adequate vitamin D intake is important to keep the bones in good condition as you age.
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Signs Your Body Is Crying For Vitamin D
Thu, 18 Feb 2021 – 04:05 GMT
Thu, 18 Feb 2021 – 04:05 GMT
So, what are the functions of vitamin D?Vitamin D deficiency is very common and there are several symptoms from which you can indicate that you need to increase your vitamin D intake such as:1. Getting sick more often. 2. Prolonged wound healing.3. Bone pain.4. Hair loss.5. Constant fatigue and mood disorders.In addition to sunlight and supplements, here are foods rich in vitamin D
Can A Lack Of Vitamin D Cause Depression
Ever noticed how much happier you feel when you have been outside in the sunshine?
Vitamin D3 is produced by our bodies when we get enough of the suns UVB rays on our skin. But that is not the only link between sunlight, Vitamin D, and mood. Research into Vitamin D and emotional health has shown that people with low levels of Vitamin D are up to 11 times more prone to depression than people with normal levels of the vitamin.
Studies in this complex area are few and far between. But more work is being done and we can expect some interesting research to be published in future.
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How To Stop It
Testing levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D can ID a deficiency. My goal is to get levels to 50 to 70 ng/ml, says Dr. Blum. But if youre experiencing red flags like fatigue and frequent illness, consider the steps below to boost levels.
Supplementing with vitamin D3 is the best way to correct a shortfall. My rule is to take 20 IU per pound of body weight per day, says Dr. Dowd . And for women with darker skin, 25 IU per pound per day.
Snack on almonds. Theyre a top source of magnesium, a nutrient Harvard researchers say is required for the body to break down and utilize vitamin D. Adding 200 mg. of magnesium daily can boost vitamin D levels eightfold.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
An Underappreciated Cause Of Lack Of Energy: Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can have far reaching, serious complications including permanent neurological problems. Vitamin B12 is important for proper nerve function and a deficiency can lead not only to loss of energy and fatigue, but nerve damage as well. Symptoms of B12 related nerve damage include tingling in the extremities, difficulty with balance, muscle weakness, and memory loss among others.
In the initial stages, symptoms of B12 deficiency may be non-specific with fatigue and lack of energy being the only obvious symptom. Over time, vague neurological and gastrointestinal symptoms may develop which gradually become more pronounced. Vitamin B12 deficiency is more commonly seen in older people who sometimes lack the intrinsic factor needed to absorb B12 and in vegans who avoid all meat and dairy products. The liver stores B12 quite efficiently, so it takes several years for people on a vegan diet to develop symptoms of a deficiency. In some cases, B12 deficiency can be associated with pernicious anemia, but this isnt always the case. B12 deficiency can be present even with a normal blood panel.
If youre older or eat a vegan diet and youre experiencing excessive fatigue with neurological symptoms, see your doctor for B12 testing. B12 deficiency is not uncommon and, if left untreated, it can lead to memory problems and permanent nerve damage.
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Youre Prone To Stress Fractures
Most people think of a lack of calcium when talking about bone health, which is true. However, without vitamin D, calcium doesnt get absorbed properly, says Jennifer Giamo, a nutritionist, certified personal trainer, and founder of New York City-based Trainers in Transit. Vitamin D, specifically D3, which increases calcium absorption, is critical to preventing bones from becoming thin and brittle. A study in The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery found that people who participate in higher-impact activities may need greater levels of vitamin D to reduce their risk of stress fractures. Note, people with high levels of calcium in their bodies due to underlying illness may need to use low doses of vitamin D as a supplement, or avoid it altogether. In addition to the vitamin D deficiency symptoms that can put you at risk, make sure you know these signs of a calcium deficiency.