For a lot of us, feeling tired all the time becomes the norm. We have forgotten what it is like to bounce out of bed in the morning. That was how I felt before I found out about my vitamin D deficiency.
The main source of vitamin D is from the sun. Our bodies need regular daily exposure in order to generate our own vitamin D and D3. Vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D that is most readily absorbed by the body. Most of us have much shorter exposure to sunlight than our ancestors, so we do not have enough time to create the vitamin D we need. You are also more likely to have a deficiency if you are following a vegan diet as natural dietary sources of vitamin D are found in fish, egg yolks, cheese and beef liver. If you have celiac disease or digestive issues you may also have issues absorbing the vitamin D from food.
Why do you need vitamin D3?
Brain fog, muscle weakness or inability to gain strength in your muscles while training, pain in bones and joints and issues sleeping are common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. It can also help with anxiety, infections and low immune systems. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones as it helps the body use calcium in your diet. Vitamin D receptors are present in virtually every tissue and cell in your body
If you have a well-functioning body you can try to get your intake from your diet and 10 to 20 minutes midday sun exposure per day. It occurs naturally in a few foods — including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks — and in fortified dairy and grain products. For a lot of us that’s not enough. As in my case I was so sure I was getting enough sun and eating the right diet, but my body was not absorbing the vitamin D due to digestive issues.
There are two significant forms of vitamin D which are important for humans. One is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) which is formed in our bodies when sunlight penetrates our skin. A small amount of vitamin D3 is also available from a few animal foods. The other is vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and is found in a small range of foods derived from plants. Vitamin D3 supplements are the ones best absorbed by the body.
How much should we have?
According to the vitamin D council the ideal range is between 50 ng/ml to 60 ng/ml. I was exhausted when I was tested at 20 ng/ml which is considered mildly deficient. I noticed after taking supplements and moving up towards the 60 ng/ml my energy improved dramatically. You can see more info on results and what they mean at the vitamin D council website.
The vitamin D council have recommendations about dosages you should take to increase your vitamin D. I would recommend getting a test completed by your doctor and discussing the correct dose for you. The first step to ensuring you are receiving all the benefits of vitamin D is to find out what your levels are using a 25(OH)D test, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Ask your doctor about testing and specifically the 25(OH)D test as that is found to be the most effective form of test. Vitamin D3 supplements are cheap and you don’t need and expensive brand to get the benefits. Increasing my intake of vitamin D3 has made a huge difference to my life, I’m so glad I got them checked.