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Vitamin D—it’s found in sunlight, certain fish (like fatty ones and tuna), and supplements—but how do we know if we’re getting enough of it? With summer here, it should be easy to absorb it if we step outside for a while every day, right? However, I’m certainly not suggesting going to sit in the sun all day just to get some (as a fair-skinned blonde, this is the last thing I’d recommend).
Vitamin D has plenty of health benefits—primarily, decreasing your chances of disease, depression, and dementia (to name a few)—and you want to get a healthy amount without overdosing on it (which will cause other health problems). Some people opt for supplements instead of UVB rays or tuna; however, doctors recommend having them help you choose a dose, as too much vitamin D can be toxic.
This Prevention article cites a study by Nutrition Research which found that almost 50 percent of adults in the U.S. do not get the right dose of vitamin D. In the same Prevention article, Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Super Immunity, suggested that people get their vitamin D levels assessed at the doctor. “Optimal blood levels of vitamin D to reduce your risk of disease is 28 to 42 ng/mL,” he said. “Many people need about 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day to achieve that level.” However, the topic is controversial, with other doctors recommending as little as 200 IUs a day.
Here are seven signs you’re not getting the right amount of vitamin D.
That’s right—this could be a sign you need more time in the sun (among other vitamin D-gathering methods).
2. Extreme fatigue
It’s best to check with a doctor, of course, but continued exhaustion could be a sign you could use more of the vitamin in your life.
3. High blood pressure
When this goes up, it could mean your heart is craving more vitamin D, but only a medical expert can tell you for sure.
Yes, all of us get depressed from time to time, but more-than-usual sadness can be a signal that your vitamin D levels are off.
5. Increased irritability
Are you noticing that you’re less patient and more moody than usual? Are others noticing, too?
6. Consistent muscle pain
Have you had more muscle pain than usual lately—and it’s not going away? This is yet another indicator you may need to get your vitamin D levels checked out.
7. Stress fractures
Bones get weak when we don’t get enough vitamin D, which leads to increased chances of stress fractures (i.e., hairline fractures which occur from extra stress on the bone).
All in all, ask your doctor before adjusting any of your vitamin routines, for you don’t want to have the opposite issue and intake too much vitamin D, either.