Updated: Mar 16
In college I learned all about the importance of vitamins and minerals and their role in the human body. However, I never realized how relevant this information was until I was personally deficient in a major vitamin. I never had an issue with vitamin D deficiency when I was playing sports because I was outside virtually year round. After a sports injury ended my athletic career, I began to notice subtle changes in my physical, emotional, and mental state. This worsened in college and the symptoms I was seeing became my “new norm.” I was constantly fatigued, low in energy, sick almost every other month, and dealt with muscle and bone weakness. Nothing seemed to help and the stress of college worsened everything.
After a visit to my primary care physician, she suggested I increase my vitamin D intake. Although I didn’t fully comprehend how a vitamin meant to aid in bone health would improve my mental health, I agreed. Around this time I also began weight lifting, it was a struggle at first. I knew the capability my body once had and not being able to perform to even a fraction of that hurt my ego tremendously. However, once I began to take heed of what I was putting into my body and truly taking care of myself (mind, body, and soul), everything became easier.
Somewhere along the way I began to start taking more supplements and eating better. Being a pre-med student in college, simple things like sleeping, engaging in self care, and even cooking a sustaining meal begin to feel like a foreign concept to me. Now that I have graduated and work in a healing environment that is focused on taking care of your mind, body, and soul, I’ve enjoyed learning about the different aspects of what it means to be “healthy.” It has been over a year since I learned I was vitamin D deficient and I still regularly take my supplement.
Vitamin D is in fact necessary for optimal bone health but it is also important for reducing body inflammation, fighting off infectious diseases, preventing impaired muscle function, improving mood/energy, and helping with anxiety. Did you know that 77% of the general population are considered vitamin D deficient?! This varies with a person’s skin color, geographic location, diet, and the amount of time they spend outside. Although vitamin D can be a supplement, there are also several great food sources including eggs, fatty fish, cereal, butter, fortified milk, and mushrooms. You can also increase the amount of time you spend outside or purchase a sunlight lamp as a replacement for natural sunlight. People need ∼2,000 IU/day to maintain blood levels of 25(OH)D above 75 nmol/L or 30 ng/ml. Unless you are consistently outdoors or eat a diet rich in vitamin D, you may not be getting your allotted amount of vitamin D everyday. If not, vitamin D supplements to the rescue!
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Until next time!
Haley Haberman, B.S HSMT
Dianne Eyvonn Godar, Stanley James Pope, William Burgess Grant, Michael Francis Holick. (2012) Solar UV Doses of Young Americans and Vitamin D 3 Production. Environmental Health Perspectives 120:1, pages 139-143.
Larson-Meyer, D. Enette1; Willis, Kentz S.2 Vitamin D and Athletes, Current Sports Medicine Reports: July 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 4 - p 220-226 doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e3181e7dd45
Ogan, Dana, and Kelly Pritchett. “Vitamin D and the Athlete: Risks, Recommendations, and Benefits.” Nutrients, vol. 5, no. 6, May 2013, pp. 1856–68. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5061856.
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.