I didn't plan on blogging about this, but last week I wrote a post called Putting my Angsty, Panicked 2015 Into Perspective, and I mentioned that, among other things going on at the end of last year, I discovered I had a Vitamin D deficiency that was causing me some problems. A few people private messaged me about that, asking questions. And since I found about my deficiency, I've had friends and neighbors get tested and found out they were deficient too. It's exceedingly common to be deficient, but it isn't routinely tested and it can cause a hell of a lot of problems. So I figured, I'd do a brief little post in case you're wondering if you might need to be tested.
Disclaimer: This is my own personal experience. I'm not a doctor and this is not medical advice. There is some debate about what a deficiency can cause and not cause. I'm just talking about how things went for me. So take that for what it's worth.
I think most of us know Vitamin D is the vitamin you get from sunlight. If you live up north, you may already routinely take supplements in the winter. Here in Texas, I never thought to worry about it, especially in summer. But I didn't think about the fact that most of the time, I'm in my writer cave. I work from home in an office. In summer months, it's blazing hot here and avoid the sun because a) 100+ temperatures b) sunburn. But still, it would've never crossed my mind that I was deficient. I'm outside daily for at least 20 minutes picking up my son, I was taking a multi vitamin on occasion (but not as regularly as I was supposed to), and I use vitamin D milk in my coffee.
But by last fall, I was feeling really bad. Body aches, losing hair, couldn't lose weight even though I was eating healthy and exercising, and was SO TIRED all the time. I'd figured it was stress related at first because I was struggling with the book I was writing, but after it went on for a while (and the hair thing freaked me out), I knew something was up. After some research, I assumed I had a thyroid problem because those symptoms fit with that and my mom's had issues with that, so I went to my doc for blood tests.
He talked with me about my symptoms and initially said--probably stress (the hair loss, body aches, and tiredness) and getting older (can't lose weight). Don't you love when doctors point out the getting older part? o_o So he diagnosed me with chronic fatigue but said he'd run some tests, including check my iron and vitamin levels.
Well, thank goodness he did because my vitamin D came back low enough that I needed to go on prescription strength levels of D (50,000 IU a week for two months.) Thyroid and everything else was fine.
So, I went on the D, not expecting it to do much honestly. But after a few weeks, the difference was noticeable. My hair loss slowed, that tired feeling went away, and weight started coming off (I've lost 11 lbs since August). Body aches have improved. Overall, I've just felt better. All because of one simple, cheap vitamin.
I'm now off the prescription strength (and have confirmed my levels are back up) and take 2000 IU daily along with a multi-vitamin. And now I'm religious about taking my vitamins every day--like put a daily reminder on my phone obsessive.
So here's my PSA: If you feel like something's wrong or just not right, go to your doctor. Yes, sometimes it's just stress, but sometimes there are other things going on. And if you want to get your vitamin levels tested, ask. It's usually not a routine test that they do without you requesting it or specific symptoms triggering them. I'm really thankful my doctor thought to look at those things because it wouldn't have crossed my mind.
So get some sun. Talk to you doc if you need to. And take your vitamins. ;)