I am worried that I may be vitamin D deficient (I tend to feel down in the colder months when I don't get a lot of sun). How can I make sure, and should I just take a supplement? I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.
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This was very helpful. Thank you.
My pleasure, Karen. I'm glad it helped answer your question.
That was a very informative post. I will print it out for my wife.
Thank you doc that is so helpful! I really appreciate you taking the time to explain it to me. I will also be sure to bring this up at my next appointment. Thank you again!!
When it comes to vitamin D deficiency, although the presence of symptoms (such as feeling "blue," chronic fatigue, and chronic pain without an apparent cause, etc) can point to it, the only way to know for sure is to have your doctor check the level by ordering a blood test.
When it comes to obtaining vitamin D naturally, usually if you can get 15-30 minutes of sun exposure (on your arms and legs) three times a week, your body can make enough vitamin D, but this varies highly from person to person, depending on factors such as your health status, skin tone, and age.
If you would like to take a supplement (but don't know your level), it is generally considered safe to take up to 1,000 IU a day (the exact recommended daily intake are listed in the chart below). Never take more than 4,000 IU unless instructed by a doctor, because unlike most vitamins (which are water soluble and get easily flushed out), vitamin D is "fat-soluble" and can accumulate to toxic levels in your body.
But just to be safe, I would still recommend getting your blood level checked before starting on a supplement.
Hope this helps!