Heads Up: Vitamin D Deficiency

Do you experience muscle soreness or cramps?  Unexplained hip and bone pain?  Midday fatigue?  I brushed these symptoms off and contributed them to my growing list of perimenopausal symptoms.   General physician ordered routine blood tests which came back normal.  I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results because these symptoms somehow felt different which warranted an appointment with my endocrinologist (hormone doc).   She ordered a vitamin D blood test which revealed a very low vitamin D level.  For 12 weeks, I’m to take vitamin D and calcium daily.   After a month, I do have more energy and need a midday nap less often.  I also have decreased muscle soreness. 

All ABOUT THE “D” VITAMIN

Vitamin D helps our bodies maintain adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus which in turn helps us to build strong bones and teeth.  Low levels of vitamin D causes the body to pull calcium and phosphorus from where we need it most; our bones.   Osteomalacia (muscle weakness) and rickets (skeletal deformities)  are two diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency.   Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with increased cardiovascular risks (hypertension, heart attack, stroke), as well as other health problems. 

Dietary sources of vitamin D:

  • Fatty fish high in omega-3s (salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, and mackerel).
  • Cod liver oil
  • Eggs
  • Whole/fortified milk
  • Sunlight (at least ten minutes of sun exposure).  Note:  People with darker skin (melanin) are more likely to produce less vitamin D from the sun.

Check out the following links for further info regarding vitamin D:  Women To Women (menopause), WebMD (Vitamin D), WebMD (informative slideshow about hair).

For those experiencing menopause/perimenopause, ask your doc to check your vitamin D levels during your routine checkup this year.

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