December 29, 2017

If winter in Minnesota is causing you to feel more tired than usual, it could be likely that you are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. Aptly named as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight.

Essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet, when it’s lacking, vitamin D deficiency can cause bone pain and muscle weakness. Most people don’t realize that they are deficient, because symptoms are generally subtle. Additional symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Frequent illness
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Bone and back pain
  • Depression
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain

Common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Having dark skin
  • Being elderly
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not eating much fish or drinking milk
  • Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round
  • Staying indoors

The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is a simple blood test. Treatment for one of the most common nutrient deficiencies involves getting more vitamin D through diet and supplements. Sunshine is the best way to get vitamin D because it is produced out of the cholesterol in the skin when it’s exposed to the sun. If you decide to get your vitamin D through sunshine, take extra precautions to not burn your skin. Sunburns can cause premature aging of the skin and raises your risk of skin cancer.