The #1 way to tell if you need more vitamin D, says dietitian

Reality check: most people don’t get enough vitamin D. In fact, a review from 2018 in Cureus revealed that 41.6% of adults in the United States are deficient. This is quite worrisome, given that vitamin D plays such an important role in maintaining strong, healthy bones-and a deficiency can cause symptoms like: muscle weakness, bone pain and mood swings. But many people overlook one of the telltale signs that they are not getting enough of this nutrient. According to experts, a vitamin D deficiency can wreak havoc on your body energy level. So, if you find yourself feeling more tired than usual, no matter how much sleep you get, your low vitamin D levels may be the cause.

“Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are often confused with symptoms of other conditions,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD of Balance One supplements. “The chronic fatigue associated with vitamin D can also be confused with the fatigue associated with aging or typical stress in life. And the relief one feels from their fatigue once they correct a vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly great.” .”

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Multiple case studies have shown an association between low blood levels of vitamin D and fatigue. Not only that, but a 2014 study in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences found that fatigue symptoms improved significantly after patients’ vitamin D levels were normalized with supplementation. Another study from 2016 in Medicine found that improvement in participants’ fatigue scores correlated directly with the rise in their vitamin D levels.

How do you get more vitamin D when you need it?

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for most adults involves: 600 International Units (IE). One way to get more vitamin D is through your diet: certain foods such as egg yolks, fatty fish, red meat and fortified grains are rich in this nutrient. Even getting some old-fashioned sunshine can help — at least during the months of March through October.

“You can use sun exposure to boost the body’s synthesis of vitamin D,” says Marie Murphy, RD, and owner at MEM Nutrition & Wellness. “The best method is to expose bare skin to direct sunlight for five to ten minutes between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.”

That said, experts warn against picking up an old vitamin D supplement to correct your potential deficiency.

“Supplementing with vitamin D without the direction of your healthcare provider can be dangerous because it’s a fat-soluble vitamin,” Best says. “This means it can reach toxic levels in the body because it is stored rather than excreted like water-soluble vitamins.”

If you suspect you have a vitamin D deficiency, Best recommends contacting your health care provider for a simple blood test to verify your current vitamin D levels. They can then make recommendations about a supplement and dosage.

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