During the shortened days of winter, diminished sunlight hours could be robbing your body of essential vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin.
A recent study suggests that nearly 75 percent of American teens and adults are lacking in vitamin D, which is vital for calcium absorption and promoting bone growth. Sun exposure as well as foods rich in vitamin D can boost your levels, but sometimes that’s just not enough.
There are signs of vitamin D deficiency and they shouldn’t be ignored. Here are four of the most obvious:
- Frequent Illness– It’s no coincidence that cold and flu season tends to correlate with winter months when our vitamin D levels are lower due to lack of sun exposure. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining a strong, healthy immune system. If you find yourself catching every bug that comes your way, you may be vitamin D deficient. Recent studies have shown that taking daily vitamin D supplements may lessen the risk of respiratory infections.
- Depression – Many people experience the “winter blues” and assume it’s just part of the season. However, a lack of vitamin D could be to blame for your low mood. There is current researchto suggest a link between vitamin D and depression. Scientists speculate that increased levels of vitamin D can help treat depression by boosting the amount of certain chemicals, including serotonin.
- Excessive Perspiration – Do you find yourself sweating without being active? If your forehead feels damp, and yet you’ve done no exercise and are not ill, experts suggest vitamin D deficiency may be the cause.
- Weakened Bones – vitamin D is essential in maintaining bone health, so any pain in your bones or lower back could mean that you’re deficient. One study showed that people with low levels of vitamin D were almost two times more likely to have aching bones in their legs, ribs or joints compared to people with sufficient levels.
Although these symptoms may present themselves when your vitamin D levels are low, experts recommend having blood tests conducted to confirm whether or not a vitamin D deficiency is the issue. If you are deficient, taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement can help.