The sunshine vitamin.

It’s that time of year again when our exposure to sunlight is greatly limited. Many people leave for work when it’s dark and return home in darkness, spending most of their daytime hours inside an office. It’s this lack of sunshine that can lead to Vitamin D deficiency.

I am convinced of the health benefits associated with having adequate Vitamin D levels. Generally, the normal range for Vitamin D is around 30-100 ng/ml. Optimally, you want your levels to be above 50 ng/ml. If your levels are below 20 ng/ml you are considered to be deficient. Some possible signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include: muscle weakness, chronic musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, mood changes, softening of bones (osteomalacia) and stress fractures.

Research suggests vitamin D may provide protection from hypertension, diabetes, psoriasis, depression, several autoimmune diseases (including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis) and may help protect against certain cancers. We have also found that vitamin D helps maintain vaginal health.

A simple blood test is all that is needed to check your level. If you are Vitamin D deficient, there is a prescription strength Vitamin D that you can take weekly, usually ranging from 1-3 months. If your levels are optimized after completing your prescription, you can supplement with over the counter Vitamin D3, the maintenance dosage is usually between 2,000-5,000 IU daily. Everyone metabolizes this vitamin differently. Some people require higher daily dosages so it is best to have your levels tested before and after treatment so you get what your body needs.

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