Do you know what I mean when I say, “The First Unofficial Day of Spring?”
If you live anywhere with seasons, I bet you do. It’s the day when all of us humans seem to emerge from our winter lairs; we unfurl our bodies, turning towards the sun. People come out into the world and greet each other and that big ball of fire in the sky like it’s something they’ve never seen before.
That’s regular stuff. This year however, it’s the summer of COVID.
Turns out, that makes a difference. Since March, when Stay-at-Home orders came into effect, people everywhere have been reporting a surge in anxiety and depression. While there are lots of good reasons for this uptick, one reason that is often overlooked is Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is extremely important. Unlike other vitamins, D acts like a hormone in your body. Vitamin D helps us to absorb calcium and phosphorus, and importantly, Vitamin D helps to regulate our body’s immune function. All of our cells have receptors for Vitamin D, and when exposed to sunlight, our bodies can make it.
Let me repeat that: when things are working properly, our bodies make Vitamin D.
Conversely, when we don’t have enough in our system, things just don’t work the way they are supposed to. Here are some signs that you may be Vitamin D deficient:
Getting sick or contracting infections often
Feeling tired or fatigued
Bone, back, or muscle pain
Impaired wound healing
As a list goes, that covers a lot of ground. So how do we know if we are or might be at risk for Vitamin D deficiency? Some common risk factors include:
Having dark skin
Being overweight or obese
Living far from the equator
Always using sunscreen when outside
In the past 6 months, I have had multiple people in my practice complaining of significant depression, feeling like their bodies hurt, brain fog, trouble getting out of bed, and more. A few of these folks were contemplating starting a new course of medication to help them feel better. I suggested they see their primary care doc first. It’s important to rule out medical issues, because if, for example, you have something off with your thyroid, anti-depressant medication isn’t going to help.
In more than one example, those people were put on a high dose of Vitamin D, and within one week reported feeling significant relief from their depression. I wish that everything worked that well. I’m sharing this information because this is a relatively simple thing we can do to help boost our immunity and our brain health.
So do your own research, and consult with your doctor to see if taking a Vitamin D supplement might help you. It’s one potentially simple thing you can do right now to help yourself feel better.