Are You Vitamin D Deficient?
A patient was treated for pneumonia for more than a month in the hospital. When he was ready to be discharged, he felt nauseous and vomited several times. Over the next three years, he frequently visited the emergency room because of his constant vomiting. He also suffered from diarrhea and aching muscles and joints. He got a bad case of anxiety and had difficulty sleeping. He was tired all the time.
The doctors gave him a battery of tests but could not come up with any definite diagnosis for all his symptoms. All they could do was prescribe him Motrin and advised him to reduce his stress. Nothing helped.
His doctors attributed his stomach problems to all the antibiotics he had been on because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in the digestive system. He started taking Probiotics to compensate for this side effect and the supplement helped make him feel a little better. But once in a while, he would still find himself running to the bathroom with the same stomach issues.
Because he felt ill all the time, he spent less and less time outside. But the more he did this, the more he felt worse. The connection between being outside and feeling ill was not apparent to him right away. He had Vitamin D deficiency.
One day, he decided to get better enough to go and visit his doctor again. Because they saw that his condition was not improving, they advised him to get a colonoscopy. He also had a series of other tests. The colonoscopy showed nothing wrong with his colon. The results also showed that his calcium level was a little low. The doctor said he could correct this by taking a supplement. But they failed to mention that the Vitamin D in his system was almost non-existent. Nobody realized that the test results indicated a Vitamin D deficiency.
A month passed and out of nowhere all his symptoms came back with a vengeance. This time he decided to go online and read everything he could about all the tests he underwent. He found that his calcium level was actually on the low side of normal and the level of his Vitamin D was dangerously low, a seven. It was the only thing that was not normal.
He came to the conclusion it was only his deficiency in Vitamin D that has been causing all his misery. Once he started taking Vitamin D supplements, his symptoms started to disappear. In a span of two weeks, his stomach went back to normal and the pain in his muscles and joints went away. He was finally feeling better for the first time in years.
His Vitamin D deficiency was brought about by him being hospitalized for a month which meant lack of sun exposure for a very long time. His skin stopped producing Vitamin D because of its non-exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.
In situations where there is very little or no exposure to sunlight, it is very difficult to supplement Vitamin D from one’s diet. To meet the daily recommended amount means drinking 10 glasses of milk a day. Infants and the elderly are often deficient in Vitamin D because they don’t get enough exposure to sunlight. Those with darker skin, who live in colder climates, and who constantly cover their face and body when they go outside are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
Other risks of deficiency in Vitamin D include rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
People who are Vitamin D deficient suffer from these symptoms:
- Muscle weakness;
- Fatigue and non-specific type of aches and pains;
- Fatigue even after getting adequate sleep;
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea;
- Depression and anxiety.
The symptoms usually worsen during the colder months.
There are several factors that bring about Vitamin D deficiency. Nowadays, not many people work outside under the sun, compared to a few decades ago. A lot of hype has also been made about avoiding the sun to prevent skin cancer. As a result, people spend less and less time under the sun and when they do, they always wear sunscreen. But they are not told that there are also terrible side effects of not getting enough sun exposure. Of course, too much of anything can be bad for you. You just have to know when to draw the line.
How can Vitamin D deficiency be corrected? The best solution is sufficient exposure to natural sunlight. To get adequate Vitamin D, you only need to spend 10-15 minutes out in the sun. Supplements also help. However, the amount to take differs for everyone, depending on how much sun you get, which in turn depends on the season and your activities. It also depends on the current level of Vitamin D in your body. So it is important that your doctor advises you about taking supplements.
A lot of studies now show that deficiency in Vitamin D has other dangerous effects. Lack of Vitamin D in your system has been linked to multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, and heart disease.
One study showed that the occurrence of certain types of cancer is increased by Vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency can account for thousands of premature deaths yearly from colon, breast, ovarian, and other cancers.
If you know that you are not getting enough sunshine, you should have your Vitamin D levels checked. If you suffered from the same symptoms that were described above, you should get tested too. Just to be on the safe side, just go ahead and get tested, you have nothing to lose. It is always better to be safe than sorry. And don’t be afraid to go out in the sun, it is good for you.