It’s true. Vitamin D, sometimes called the sunshine vitamin, is really a steroid that is released in your body when you are exposed to sunlight. Although you can get some vitamin D from certain foods, this mystery compound is not designed to be consumed, but to be produced by your body.
So are you vitamin D deficient? You might be. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 32% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Researchers believe this number is hugely underestimated due to the limits of their studies.
Take a look at these signs of vitamin D deficiency and see if you need to spend more time basking in the sun.
You Have More Melanin
The good news about melanin is that it’s a great natural sunscreen. Those with darker skin are significantly less susceptible to sunburns. The bad news is that darker skin also requires greater sun exposure to produce the right amount of vitamin D that your body needs. It may not be such a bad thing. It sure is a good excuse to stay out at the beach all day!
You Feel Down
When you are exposed to sunlight, your serotonin levels go up. Serotonin, the happy hormone, is a brain hormone associated with your mood.
When researchers did a study on 80 elderly patients, they found that those with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more likely to be depressed! Try working in an area with a lot of natural light and note your mood difference.
You’re 50 or Older
The old grumpy man/woman is a common character in entertainment and there’s some truth behind it. As you get older, your body doesn’t produce or convert as much vitamin D as it used to. Also, older adults tend to spend more time indoors. If this sounds like you, try going outside for a walk or sit at a park and enjoy the sunshine.
You Have Aching Bones
Vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis in adults. Without enough vitamin D, your body will have issues getting calcium to your bones, causing aching bone pain.
You Have a Sweaty Head
It sounds kind of weird, but when you’re not getting enough vitamin D, your brain experiences neuromuscular irritability that causes you to sweat on your head. This is an early symptom of vitamin D deficiency, particularly in newborns.
You Have Problems With Your Gut
Gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease, gluten sensitivity and inflammatory bowel disease affect your ability to absorb fat. Since vitamin D is fatsoluble, these conditions will also prevent you from properly absorbing this well needed vitamin too.
You Live Further From The Equator
The further you are from the equator, the less you will be exposed to sunlight throughout the year. During the winter season, it is often advised that you consume vitamin D supplements or eat foods rich in vitamin D. Ultimately, nothing works as efficiently and effectively as some good exposure to sunlight.
Plan your vacations in the winter and go somewhere warm and sunny. Your body will thank you for it.