A few weeks I mentioned that I was retaining water like a sponge and overall feeling really uncomfortable. After undergoing a whole host of tests and seeing a doctor about it, it turns out I am deficient in Vitamin D, which may be one of the contributing factors. We’re always told to take our vitamins but only after discussing it thoroughly with my doctor only did I realize the importance of Vitamin D, especially for women.
It actually functions as a steroid hormone in the body, where it can influence the activity of various genes turning them on or off. Over time conditions like period irregularity and infertility seem to have unfortunately become more common. While who’s to say what the actual cause is, it was a real eye-opener to see Vitamin D deficiency on the top of that list. In addition to these female-based problems, Vitamin D deficiency can also contribute to depression, fatigue, muscle weakness diabetes, unexpected weight gain, cancer, osteoporosis…and the list goes on. While I’m no doctor, I am sure I am not the only one who can use benefit from an increase in Vitamin D:
1) Sunlight: This is clearly a case of “You’re damned if you do & you’re damned if you don’t”. If we sit in sunlight we risk skin cancer whereas if we don’t, we risk being deficient vitamin D. In the case of the latter, small doses of controlled exposure to ultraviolet B rays (preferably in the early morning) promotes the synthesis of Vitamin D in the body.
2) Food: Although vitamin D does not occur naturally in many foods, it’s found in fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel (hello, Sushi), almonds, spinach, beef liver, cheese, and most importantly: egg yolks. While yolks don’t scream “health” the same way egg whites do, that’s where the nutrients lie. Yes, a yolk will set you back 60-80 calories, but I think it’s a fair price to pay for the addition of vitamins B2, B12, D, and iron to your meal. When I’m cooking eggs, I usually combine 2 whites with a whole egg.
And if you had any doubts about adding more healthy fats to your diet, consider this just another reason: as a fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin D can only be absorbed in the body with the help of fats. Pass the peanut butter, please :)!
3) Supplements: Although sunlight is the richest source of Vitamin D, supplementation might be the fastest way to raise levels. Especially as I have no plans (or any opportunity given the current weather conditions) to bask in the sun, I’ve been prescribed to dissolve a sachet of Calciferol in a glass of water and drink it weekly. Of course before starting any supplementations, consult with your own doctor first.
Although Vitamin D deficiency has becoming increasingly common, it’s not always the case. However as it’s been linked to a growing inventory of ailments, even day-to-day ailments, it’s always worth paying attention to. Like most cases, it’s the little things which make all the difference.