About a month and a half ago I was feeling like I hit a brick wall. I felt so drained, physically, mentally and emotionally. It was so bad that one Sunday morning I got up and started my chores…I got the toilet scrubbed and had to go back to bed. Just cleaning the bathroom completely exhausted me, took all the energy I had. The few weeks prior to that I had been feeling so tired, and each day it got worse. I heard from a friend at work that she might have Mono…could I have picked it up from her? Did we sip each other’s drinks the night we were all out? Why was I so so tired? So tired that I struggled to think and process things happening in my day. So tired that I was having weird moments of sadness. So tired that it was a daunting task just to walk from my bedroom to the kitchen. So finally I gave in and headed to the doctor’s. Initially the thought was that maybe I was having some kind of weird flare-up of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. But what was unusual is that I wasn’t in pain which is usually the first sign of a flare-up for me. I had no pain, no cough, no stuffy nose, no stomach ache, I was just completely exhausted. So we did blood tests…for everything she could think of, let’s just knock out the possibilities. Check thyroid, check white blood count…check vitamin levels…
We all know that we are supposed to have our daily vitamins but I have to admit I spent most of my life not putting as much thought into it as maybe I should have. I eat pretty healthy, lots of vegetables and fruit. I know I have to push myself to eat red meat and leafy vegetables from time to time to make sure I’m getting enough iron but other than that I wasn’t as responsible as I could have been about taking daily vitamins…I had them in my cabinet, which apparently doesn’t really count unless you take them. (Yeah I know, here I am a Wellness and Healthy Lifestyle Blogger admitting she wasn’t taking her vitamins…I never said I was perfect).
I spent a few days working from home and taking naps in between meetings and office work to help keep my energy up while I waited for the test results. I found that the mini naps helped give me bursts of energy so that I could get more done throughout the day – it just turned into a weird work schedule, in a way I guess my days were sort of longer those three days because I scattered work out. My doctor’s office called with my results that Wednesday: Good news, no Mono and no other virus. Bad News: it wasn’t going to go away on its own…turns out deficiency in just one vitamin can shake your whole world up. The typical range for a healthy level of Vitamin D is 50-100…my level was 10. Whew, what?! Vitamin D deficiency is pretty common in the NorthEast Region because of our winters but I hadn’t realized I could feel this awful and it could get that low. I started taking 5000 units of Vitamin D a day, instructed to do so for a month to get my level boosted back up. These things take some time to build up though so this was going to be a little bit of a journey to feeling better again. Three weeks later I started feeling like my spunky self again. I added in a daily vitamin…let’s stop and note just for a moment that I really hate taking pills (thank goodness that 5000 Units Vitamin D supplement was a little guy) and I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to taste (hey, we all have stubborn quirks!). I totally saw these vitamins for kids called ‘Smarty Pants’ that I was teasing saying I should get them for my son because he can be a smart butt. Well they have them for Women too – ‘Smarty Pants Women’s Complete Gummy Vitamin’ – so I picked them up. They are actually super tasty and the levels are good in them for me. (*Always check with your physician to see what’s best for you) . I feel like such a better version of me, well I feel like me again. My moral of the story: Vitamins do matter, like really, really matter!
According to www.medicalnewstoday.com, Vitamin D is also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”. Typically, we absorb Vitamin D from exposure to the sun, however this time of year our time outside is greatly reduced.
- For energy – from my experience if you are deficient in Vitamin D you can end up feeling super drained and exhausted.
- It is important for healthy bones. Vitamin D helps with the regulation of calcium and in maintaining healthy levels of phosphorus in the blood.
- It helps reduce the risk of catching the flu – which is super helpful during flu season!
- Good levels of Vitamin D help reduce muscle and bone pain.
- A deficiency can put you in a funk. You may be feeling kind of depressed or sad if you are low in Vitamin D.
- It promotes stronger, healthier teeth.
- It increases your mental clarity and sharpness.
- Some studies show reduced amount of abdominal fat in people that were sufficient in Vitamin D. That sounds like a good perk to me!
So where do we get Vitamin D when we can’t get in the sunshine? I found this one a bit challenging to solve with changing my diet. Vitamin D is a tricky one to find in a lot of foods. My best advice is to talk to your doctor and pick up a supplement that is suited for you. Here are some foods that will also help (sorry, the list is a bit short).
- Look for fortified dairy foods such as Vitamin D fortified yogurt, cheese, milk, cereal, etc.
Cod Liver Oil, if you dare…this one isn’t for me.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
Beef liver…another one that I don’t think is going to make it to my plate.
This week, I’ll down my dose some. Down to one 5000 Unit Vitamin D supplement a week and two (chewable, yay!) 400 units of Vitamin D a day. This little ‘adventure’ was eye-opening for me. We all know what we should be doing but putting it into action sometimes takes a little push, I got mine!