Why am I tired all the time?

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Several years ago, I went through a spell where I was unusually tired, all the time. For a while, I just slugged through it, thinking it was due to being busy, or short on sleep, etc. But after several weeks with no relief, I visited the doctor.

In running the routine blood tests, she discovered that my Vitamin D levels were hazardously low.

Who knew?! I had no idea that Vitamin D could affect a person like that. After a doctor-prescribed mega-dose and several weeks of intentional daily time in the sun — again, at my doctor’s direction — I began to get back to my normal energy levels. (A daily nap in the sun? That’s the kind of prescription I can get into!)

Important note: Mega-dosing is not something you should do without medical supervision! More on that below.

Another important note: Low Vitamin D is very common and often overlooked, but of course, there are many reasons for being tired. Another reason to see your doctor.

Of course, there are numerous reasons why you might be tired all the time, but this is a very common, easy-to-test-for and easy-to-fix cause, so there’s no reason not to check with your doctor.

I recently ran across a thorough and helpful post on this topic by certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Mickey Trescott. Here are the highlights; a link to the full post follows.

While taking a D supplement is part of many doctors’ treatment protocols these days, it is important to note that you still need to exercise caution as overdoing it can definitely be harmful.

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that is made in your skin as a response to ultraviolet light. It is also found in your diets to varying degrees….

Vitamin D is most well known for regulating… minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous in the body. In recent years, there has been much research into additional functions, like its effect on the immune system, cardiovascular system, and cancer. Here is a list of what vitamin D does in the body:

  • Regulates bone mineralization
  • Modulates the immune system
  • Has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties
  • Supports the immune system fighting infection

Often the first signs [of Vitamin D deficiency] are tiredness, muscle pain, and more frequent susceptibility to the cold and flu. Sound familiar?

It is estimated that up to 75% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. This isn’t surprising, considering our modern, indoor lifestyles, obsession with sunscreen, and lack of nutrient-density in our diets.

Want to learn something crazy about sunscreen? The SPF factor refers to a product’s ability to block UVB rays,but not the deeper penetrating, cancer-causing UVA rays. Most sunscreens offer mild, if any protection from UVA rays.

The solution to this problem is to practice smart sun exposure. What does this mean? Depending on the fairness of your skin, you will want to expose yourself to sunlight without sunscreen a few times a week, for 10-20 minutes or more. Now, if you have dark skin, you may need more sun exposure to generate the vitamin D you need — this is where testing is helpful. Never stay out in the sun long enough to burn.

It is important for you to have your vitamin D level tested at least once a year, so that your doctor can pinpoint a deficiency, you can gauge how well your supplementation is working, as well as see if you are edging towards having too much vitamin D.

Elevated levels of vitamin D can cause a buildup of calcium in areas of the body where you don’t want them — soft tissues like the blood vessels and kidneys.

Read the full article here: Don’t Fear the Sun! Vitamin D and Healing

Image: By Chris Waits, via Flickr –  Creative Commons

Jana

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