Showing posts with label Nutrition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nutrition. Show all posts

How To Manage Your Sleep Problems

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which one has difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting quality sleep. According to a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, one in four Americans develop insomnia each year, but fortunately, about 75% of these individuals recover without developing persistent insomnia while the other 25% progress to acute insomnia.
People over the age of 60 tend to experience sleep disturbances more often than younger people. Females are also twice as likely to have sleep problems compared to males. There are a multitude of possible causes for insomnia, including:
  • emotional stress,
  • mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety,
  • chronic pain,
  • allergies,
  • asthma,
  • heart failure,
  • hyperthyroidism,
  • heartburn,
  • menopause,
  • restless leg syndrome,
  • circadian rhythm disruptions, such as jet lag or working night shifts,
  • sleep apnea,
  • certain medications,
  • caffeine,
  • heavy smoking, and
  • excessive alcohol intake.
Insomnia is agonizing, exhausting, and frustrating. Some people turn to sleeping pills, either over-the-counter or prescription, which may help improve sleep while you are taking them. But insomnia usually returns once they are stopped because medications do not treat the underlying causes of insomnia.
Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that is sold as a supplement. It is helpful for occasional sleep problems and jet lag. Individuals who report that melatonin does not work often make the mistake of taking too high a dose of several grams. Very often, as little as 300 mcg is already sufficient. Always start with the lowest dose before increasing the dosage. It is also beneficial to get the "timed release" melatonin as it will help you stay asleep longer. However, melatonin also does not address the underlying causes of insomnia.
A more successful approach to insomnia is to improve sleep hygiene and make lifestyle changes in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy. Dozens of studies have proved that this strategy is extremely helpful in treating insomnia. In the following, we will examine these techniques in more detail.
Sleep Hygiene And Lifestyle Changes
Sleep-Promoting Habits
The goal is to help you fall asleep more easily, wake up less often and for shorter periods of time, and fall back to sleep more easily.
  1. Regular rising time. Set an alarm clock and get out of bed around the same time every day, no matter how little or poorly you have slept. Do not try to sleep in on weekends because by doing so, you will disrupt your body's circadian rhythm.
  2. Reducing time in bed. Do not go to bed early because you did not sleep well the prior night. This will actually exacerbate insomnia. Determine your earliest allowable bedtime by starting from your desired wake-up time and subtracting the amount of time you want to stay in bed. The time in bed is your average sleep time plus 1 hour and can range from a minimum of 6 hours to a maximum of 9 hours. If you sleep on average 5 hours or less at night, your time in bed should be 6 hours. If you sleep 8 hours, your time in bed should be 9 hours. In other words, your time in bed should closely match the amount of sleep you are averaging per night. The purpose is to avoid the bed becoming a cue for wakefulness more than a cue for sleep. For insomniacs who are already exhausted, the hardest part is to stay awake until the allowable bedtime. Try to engage in a light activity and refrain from going to bed. As you start to sleep better and more hours, you can move the allowable bedtime earlier.
  3. Wind down gradually in the hour before bedtime by engaging in relaxing activities. Avoid stimulating activities such as phone calls, arguments, emotional discussions, work-related activities, surfing the internet, bill-paying, or unpleasant TV programs.
  4. If you need to nap after a poor night of sleep, limit your nap to 45 minutes and do not take it later than 4 pm.




Stimulus-Control Methods
The purpose is to help insomniacs unlearn the connection between the bed and insomnia.
  1. Use the bed only for sleep and sex. No watching TV, working, studying, playing video games, or talking on the phone. If reading a book or watching TV helps you fall asleep, set a timer to turn off the light or TV after 30 minutes.
  2. If you cannot fall sleep within 30 minutes or if you awaken during the night and cannot fall back to sleep within that time, get up, go to another room, or sit in bed and engage in a quiet and relaxing activity such as reading a book or watching TV until you feel drowsy. Do not lie in bed tossing and turning.
Lifestyle Factors
  1. Engage in some form of physical activity every day. Apart from going to the gym, you can also include activities like washing the car, mowing the lawn with a non-riding mower, raking leaves, climbing stairs, bicycling, walking uphill, etc. These activities can be broken up into several shorter sessions but they should add up to at least 30 minutes each day. However, it is best not to exercise up to 3 hours before bedtime.
  2. Get some sunlight exposure during the day. If you work indoors, go outside on your coffee break or lunch hour. This will help regulate the body's melatonin (sleep hormone) production and improve sleep. It will enhance your mood and energy as well.
  3. Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee early in the morning probably will not affect nighttime sleep. However, if you do not sleep well, you should avoid caffeine after noontime.
  4. If you smoke and cannot quit, try to eliminate smoking near bedtime or at night. Nicotine is a stimulant and it will make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  5. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink at least 2 hours before bedtime. Nightcaps are not a cure for insomnia. Alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep but it can make sleep lighter and more fragmented. It also suppresses deep sleep and exacerbates snoring and sleep apnea.
Food & Sleep Connection
  1. Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates (eg. peas, beans, oats, quinoa, brown rice) have a mild sleep-enhancing effect because they increase serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that promotes sleep.
  2. Foods that are high in protein inhibit sleep by blocking serotonin.
  3. To fall asleep more easily and have less nighttime awakenings, try eating a light carbohydrate snack before bedtime.
  4. Avoid foods that are high in sugar as they can cause a burst of energy.
  5. Avoid foods that are likely to cause heartburn or any digestive discomfort.
  6. Avoid eating late dinners.
  7. Reduce fluid intake after 8 pm.
  8. Studies found that deficiencies in B vitamins can impair sleep. Consider taking a B complex supplement if you think that your diet may be lacking in nutrients.
Establishing The Optimal Sleep Environment
  1. Room temperature can have a significant impact on sleep. Insomnia is associated with a failure of body temperature to fall at bedtime. So sleeping in a warm room will make it even harder for the body temperature to drop. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (or 16 to 19 degrees Celsius).
  2. Keep the bedroom completely dark and quiet. In general, insomniacs tend to be more sensitive to noise. Older people whose sleep is lighter as a consequence of aging are also more prone to noise-induced sleep disturbance.
  3. Some individuals are more sensitive to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) than others. If so, removing electronic devices from the bedroom can reduce the stimulation caused by EMFs.
  4. Make sure your bed is comfortable and provide adequate support. Beds that sag can disturb sleep by causing neck and back discomfort, while mattresses that are too hard can cause discomfort for people with arthritis.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Insomnia (CBT-I)
CBT-I aims to treat chronic sleep problem by changing the thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep.
Relaxation Training
Stressful life events are the most common precipitators of chronic insomnia. Most insomniacs and even some good sleepers have a harder time sleeping on stressful days. Studies have documented that increased daytime stress is correlated with reduced deep sleep, which results in lighter, more restless sleep.
Fortunately, we all have an inborn tool within us that can overcome these stress responses. It is called the relaxation response (RR), which simply put, is using the mind to control the body.
How To Induce The RR
  1. Lie down or sit comfortably. Relax all the muscles throughout the body by starting from the head spreading to the toes or vice versa.
  2. Engage in slow, deep abdominal breathing.
  3. Direct your attention from everyday thoughts to a neutral word such as calm, peace, relax, heavy or whatever you choose. Repeat the word silently. Or you can visualize an enjoyable, relaxing scene such as a beach, a mountain, a meadow, or floating on a cloud.
  4. If your mind wanders or negative thoughts come in, literally say "no thoughts" a few times. Then go back to your word or scene and continue with the deep breathing.
  5. Practice the RR everyday, either in the morning or afternoon. Allot 10-20 minutes for the RR. If you fall asleep, it is fine. However, do not practice the RR 1-2 hours before bedtime as it may affect your sleep.
  6. When you get better at doing the RR during the day, you can try using it at night to fall asleep or after a nighttime wake-up. If you do not fall asleep within 30 minutes. Get up or sit up in bed and engage in a light activity. Do not lie in bed tossing and turning.
  7. Be realistic and be patient. For some insomniacs, it takes up to a few weeks before their sleep improves.
Why The RR Improves Sleep
  1. When practiced during the day, it counters daily stress responses, reducing the likelihood that stress hormones will be elevated at night.
  2. When practiced at bedtime or after an awakening, it helps turn off the internal dialogue, quiet the mind, and relax the body.
  3. RR produces a brain-wave pattern similar to Stage 1 sleep, which is the transition state between waking and sleeping. When insomniacs practice the RR at night, it is easier to enter Stage 1 sleep and ultimately Stage 2, deep sleep, and dream sleep.
How To Overcome Negative Self-Talk
Last but not least, negative thoughts during the day or at bedtime play a powerful role in stimulating wakefulness and causing insomnia. Certain negative thoughts and emotions are normal responses to stressful situations, such as grieving after a death. However, some negative emotions such as worry, anxiety, frustration, and anger are unnecessary, excessive, and unhealthy. They trigger stress responses that adversely affect sleep. Therefore, it is beneficial to eliminate or restructure these negative thoughts that cause more stress.
  1. Become more aware of negative self-talk. Catch yourself doing it or better, write them down and review them at the end of the day.
  2. Realize that most of these thoughts are either not true or overly negative and pessimistic.
  3. Reflect on past experiences and ask yourself: "Has anything like this happened to me in the past and if so, how did it turn out?" Most likely, we tend to worry too much and things seldom turn out as badly as we imagined.
  4. Reframe your negative thoughts and focus on positive beliefs.
  5. Do not generalize a problem to your whole life. View setbacks as temporary.
  6. Avoid blaming yourself for things beyond your control.
  7. Refrain from dismissing positive events as temporary or due to luck or external causes.
  8. Practice gratitude everyday.
  9. Seek out optimists and avoid pessimists. Both optimism and pessimism are contagious.
Hopefully, by incorporating healthy sleep hygiene and making lifestyle changes as well as cognitive behavioral therapy, we can all say goodnight to insomnia!

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3 Healthy but Delicious Recipes


   One unfortunate truth about diets is that when we're on
them, we have a tendency to focus on all the foods we
can't have.

   A better approach would be to look at a diet as an
opportunity to try exciting, delicious, and healthier
foods.

   Here are three heart-healthy, low-calorie meals that
don't skimp on flavor:

   Orange-Tamari Salmon

   This recipe features an exotic blend of citrus and
tamari, with all the nutritional benefits of omega-3s!

   What You'll Need:

   1  1/2  lb salmon fillets (4 equal portions) 
   1/3 cup dry white wine 
   2 tbsp low-sodium tamari 
   1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 
   3 tbsp ginger (peeled and grated)
   1/4 cup chopped scallions 
    1/2  tsp olive oil (extra virgin)
   1 tsp raw honey

   Cooking Instructions:

   Rinse fillets and pat them dry.

   Combine white wine, tamari, orange juice, green onions,
honey, and ginger in a bowl and whisk them until they form
a well-blended marinade.

   Place fillets in a baking pan with the pink flesh
facing up. Pour the marinade evenly over all fillets.
Cover pan with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for
4-6 hours.

   When you're ready to cook, remove fillets from
refrigerator while you preheat your broiler.

   Remove excess scallions and ginger from the fillets,
and brush the scaled side of each fillet with extra virgin
olive oil.

   Place fillets, skin down, on broiling pan.

   Broil fillets on high heat for 10 minutes, or until
cooked through. The flesh should be slightly brown on top,
and firm, flaky, and light pink throughout.

   Spinach-Ricotta Portobellos

   This vegetarian treat goes great with whole wheat pasta
and a side salad. As an added bonus, each stuffed mushroom
cap serves up a healthy dose of calcium and protein!  
What You'll Need:

   4 large Portobello mushrooms (caps) 
   1/4 tsp sea salt
   1/4 tsp black pepper, divided 
   1 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese 
   1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped 
   1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided 
   2 tbsp kalamata olives,diced 
   1/2 tsp Italian herb seasoning 
   3/4 cup marinara sauce

   Cooking Instructions:

   Coat a baking sheet with no-calorie cooking spray and
preheat oven to 450 degrees.

   Place Portobello caps on baking sheet, gills facing up.

   Sprinkle with sea salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Cook
until tender (about 20 minutes).

   While caps are cooking, mix ricotta cheese, spinach
leaves,  1/4  cup parmesan cheese, diced olives, Italian
seasoning, and remaining pepper in a bowl.

   Pour marinara sauce into a separate bowl and cook or
microwave until hot.

   Remove caps from oven and drain them. Place them back
on the baking sheet and spread 1 tbsp marinara sauce on
each.

   Heap each cap with 1/3 cup ricotta spinach filling.
Sprinkle all caps with remaining parmesan cheese.

   Bake for 10 minutes, and serve with remaining warm
marinara sauce.

   Sweet & Tangy "Fried" Chicken

   This recipe puts a healthy spin on a Southern favorite.
It's also packed with selenium, a vitamin that boosts the
production of disease-fighting antioxidants.

   What You'll Need:

   3 tbsp Dijon mustard 
   2 tbsp grade B maple syrup 
   2 tbsp peanut oil, divided 
   1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped 
   3/4 tsp black pepper 
   1/2 tsp salt, optional 
   4 lb bone-in chicken pieces, skinless and fat-trimmed 
   1 1/2 cups whole grain breadcrumbs

   Cooking Instructions:

   In a large bowl, mix Dijon mustard, maple syrup, 1 tbsp
peanut oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Whisk until
well-blended.

   Dip chicken pieces in mixture until evenly coated on
all sides.

   Cover chicken and place in refrigerator for at least 30
minutes (up to 6 hours).

   Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a wire rack over a
large baking sheet to cook chicken.

   Mix breadcrumbs and remaining peanut oil on the surface
of a large plate. Dredge the meatier side of each chicken
piece through the breadcrumb mixture.

   Arrange pieces on wire rack, dredged side up. Bake for
35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot and enjoy!

   More Tips

   Here are some more tips for putting together exciting
and healthy recipes:

   * Try new meats. Veal, lamb, and bison are ultra-lean
and full of flavor. 
   * Add color to your recipes. A balanced diet should 
contain plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Take this 
opportunity to try new varieties of produce. 
   * Use whole-grain rice and pasta. Whole grain
products provide plenty of fiber and keep blood sugar
spikes to a minimum. Many dieters also find them to be
heartier and more satisfying than regular white flour
products.


  


vitamin d deficiency vitamin d deficiency symptoms vitamin d deficiency remedies vitamin d deficiency treatment vitamin d deficiency in women vitamin deficiency symptoms in women

Vitamin D Deficiency - Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency That Most People Ignore

In the past, we were misinformed about the source of Vitamin D. We know that this vitamin is needed by our bones. Today, we are made aware that there are two forms of Vitamin D which give us more opportunities to increase Vitamin D intake and thus prevent Vitamin D deficiency. These two forms are Vitamin D2 which is plant form and Vitamin D3 which comes from the sun and is synthesized by our skin.

Vitamin D can be easily absorbed by your body. Exposure to sunlight will provide your body with enough of this vitamin. It has been advised that going under direct sunlight should be early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sunrays are not too hot to burn your skin. Exposure to extreme hot sunlight frequently can cause skin cancer.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Osteoporosis or osteopenia is one of the known symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency.
Fatigue, infertility, and other hormone related issues, weak bones, bone and muscle pain can be due to the lack of this vitamin. You can also be sick with diabetes, heart disease, chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, asthma and several kinds of cancer when you have Vitamin D deficiency. Crohn's disease, a medical condition that affects intestinal absorption, can also be due to very low level of this vitamin.
There are particular groups of people that can easily manifest this deficiency.
These are pregnant women, babies, elderly or senior citizens, vegetarians and people with dark pigments in their skin. A pregnant woman has a great need for this vitamin to nourish the baby in the womb. When she gives birth and is breastfeeding, she needs the vitamins for the baby's milk. An elderly person is susceptible to vitamin D deficiency because the skin has lost most of the power to absorb sun in a lot of cases.
Functions of Vitamin D
The two major functions of this vitamin are to control and to maintain calcium and phosphorus levels in your blood. Because of Vitamin D, these two minerals are well absorbed by the body such that calcium and phosphorous deficiencies are prevented. This vitamin also aid the kidney in absorbing calcium. Moreover, this vitamin promotes the growth of cellular tissues. Some studies disclosed that Vitamin D provides immunity to diseases.
Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency
It is very easy to prevent deficiency of Vitamin D. In fact, it is free in a lot of cases. You just have to go out of your house and expose your skin to sunlight. You can even do your exercises outdoors - under the sun as this helps as well.
Another way to prevent Vitamin D deficiency is to eat foods that are rich in the vitamin. Best sources are fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring. Cod liver oil which used to be the cure for rickets many years ago is also a great source. Cottage cheese and egg do contain Vitamin D - but in small amounts. You can buy fortified products from your supermarket in the of milk and milk products which have elements of Vitamin D as well.
The third way is the use of Vitamin D supplements. Today, you can find natural products that are good Vitamin D supplements.
There are calcium pills that have been formulated with Vitamin D so if you need calcium for your bones, buy calcium + Vitamin D capsules.
Remember that vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium.
Hopefully this gives you a roadmap on how to curb and cure Vitamin D deficiency once it starts. When treated correctly and promptly you can all but eliminate the symptoms of this deficiency in a very short time span.
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More details:

How to Spot a Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D can be easily absorbed by your body. Exposure to sunlight will provide your body with enough of this vitamin. It has been advised that going under direct sunlight should be early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sunrays are not too hot to burn your skin. Exposure to extreme hot sunlight frequently can cause skin cancer.

What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency means that you do not have enough vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is unique because your skin actually produces it by using sunlight. Fair-skinned individuals and those who are younger convert sunshine into vitamin D far better than those who are darker-skinned and over age 50.

Why is vitamin D so important?

Vitamin D is one of many vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy. This vitamin has many functions, including:
  • Keeping bones strongHaving healthy bones protects you from various conditions, including rickets. Rickets is a disorder that causes children to have bones that are weak and soft. It is caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones. In adults, having soft bones is a condition called osteomalacia.
  • Absorbing calciumVitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures. Vitamin D, once either taken orally or from sunshine exposure is then converted to an active form of the vitamin. It is that active form that promotes optimal absorption of calcium from your diet.
  • Working with parathyroid glandsThe parathyroid glands work minute to minute to balance the calcium in the blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut and skeleton. When there is sufficient calcium in the diet and sufficient active Vitamin D, dietary calcium is absorbed and put to good use throughout the body. If calcium intake is insufficient, or vitamin D is low, the parathyroid glands will ‘borrow’ calcium from the skeleton in order to keep the blood calcium in the normal range.

Getting enough vitamin D may also play a role in helping to keep you healthy by protecting against the following conditions and possibly helping to treat them. These conditions can include:


  • Heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Infections and immune system disorders.
  • Falls in older people.
  • Some types of cancer, such as colon, prostate and breast cancers.
  • Multiple sclerosis.



8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout your body .Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D functions like a hormone, and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it.Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight.It's also found in certain foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, though it's very difficult to get enough from diet alone.The recommended daily intake (RDI) is usually around 400–800 IU, but many experts say you should get even more than that.Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It's estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood .According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African-Americans .Here are 7 common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:

  • Having dark skin.
  • Being elderly.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Not eating much fish or dairy.
  • Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round.
  • Always using sunscreen when going out.
  • Staying indoors.
People who live near the equator and get frequent sun exposure are less likely to be deficient, as their skin produces enough vitamin D to satisfy their bodies' needs.Most people don't realize that they’re deficient, as symptoms are generally subtle. You may not recognize them easily, even if they’re having a significant negative effect on your quality of life.Here are 8 signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

1. Getting Sick or Infected Often



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One of vitamin D's most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so you're able to fight off viruses and bacteria that cause illness.

It directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection .

If you often become sick, especially with colds or the flu, low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor.

Several large observational studies have shown a link between a deficiency and respiratory tract infections like colds, bronchitis and pneumonia .

A number of studies have found that taking vitamin D supplements at a dosage of up to 4,000 IU daily may reduce your risk of respiratory tract infections .

In one study in people with the chronic lung disorder COPD, only those who were severely deficient in vitamin D experienced a significant benefit after taking a high-dose supplement for one year .
2. Fatigue and Tiredness
Feeling tired can have many causes, and vitamin D deficiency may be one of them.
Unfortunately, it's often overlooked as a potential cause.

Case studies have shown that very low blood levels can cause fatigue that has a severe negative effect on quality of life .
In one case, a woman who complained of chronic daytime fatigue and headaches was found to have a vitamin D blood level of only 5.9 ng/ml. This is extremely low, as anything under 20 ng/ml is considered deficient.
When the woman took a vitamin D supplement, her level increased to 39 ng/ml and her symptoms resolved .
However, even blood levels that aren't extremely low may have a negative impact on your energy levels.
A large observational study looked at the relationship between vitamin D and fatigue in young women.
The study found that women with blood levels lower than 20 ng/ml or 21–29 ng/ml were more likely to complain of fatigue than those with blood levels over 30 ng/ml .
Another observational study in female nurses found a strong connection between low vitamin D levels and self-reported fatigue.
What's more, the researchers found that 89% of the nurses were deficient .
For more information on how to reduce fatigue, consider reading about the .best vitamins and supplements to boost energy.

 3. Bone and Back Pain

Vitamin D helps maintain bone health in a number of ways.

For one, it improves your body's absorption of calcium.
Bone pain and lower back pain may be signs of inadequate vitamin D levels in the blood.
Large observational studies have found a relationship between a deficiency and chronic lower back pain .
One study examined the association between vitamin D levels and back pain in more than 9,000 older women.
The researchers found that those with a deficiency were more likely to have back pain, including severe back pain that limited their daily activities .
In one controlled study, people with vitamin D deficiency were nearly twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs or joints compared to those with blood levels in the normal range .

 4. Depression

A depressed mood may also be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.

In review studies, researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression, particularly in older adults .

In one analysis, 65% of the observational studies found a relationship between low blood levels and depression.

On the other hand, most of the controlled trials, which carry more scientific weight than observational studies, didn't show a link between the two .
However, the researchers who analyzed the studies noted that the dosages of vitamin D in controlled studies were often very low.
In addition, they observed that some of the studies may not have lasted long enough to see the effect of taking supplements on mood.
Some controlled studies have shown that giving vitamin D to people who are deficient helps improve depression, including seasonal depression that occurs during the colder months .
5. Impaired Wound Healing
Slow healing of wounds after surgery or injury may be a  sign that your vitamin D levels are too low.
Results from a test-tube study suggest that the vitamin increases the production of compounds that are crucial for forming new skin as part of the wound-healing process .
One study on people who had dental surgery found that certain aspects of healing were compromised by vitamin D deficiency .
It's also been suggested that vitamin D's role in controlling inflammation and fighting infection is important for proper healing.
One analysis looked at patients with diabetic foot infections.
It found that those with severe vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have higher levels of inflammatory markers that can jeopardize healing .
Unfortunately, there is very little research about the effects of vitamin D supplements on wound healing in people with deficiency at this point.
However, one study found that when vitamin D deficient patients with leg ulcers were treated with the vitamin, ulcer size reduced by on 28%, on average .
6. Bone Loss 
Low bone mineral density is an indication that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals. This places older adults, especially women, at an increased risk of fractures.
In a large observational study in more than 1,100 middle-aged women in menopause or postmenopause, researchers found a strong link between low vitamin D levels and low bone mineral density .
However, a controlled study found that women who were vitamin D deficient experienced no improvement in bone mineral density when they took high-dose supplements, even if their blood levels improved .
Regardless of these findings, adequate vitamin D intake and maintaining blood levels within the optimal range may be a good strategy for protecting bone mass and reducing fracture risk.
7. Hair Loss
Hair loss is often attributed to stress, which is certainly a common cause.
However, when hair loss is severe, it may be the result of a disease or nutrient deficiency.
Hair loss in women has been linked to low vitamin D levels, though there is very little research on this to date .
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss from the head and other parts of the body. It's associated with rickets, which is a disease that causes soft bones in children due to vitamin D deficiency .
Low vitamin D levels are linked to alopecia areata and may be a risk factor for developing the disease.
One study in people with alopecia areata showed that lower vitamin D blood levels tended to be associated with a more severe hair loss .
In a case study, topical application of a synthetic form of the vitamin was found to successfully treat hair loss in a young boy with a defect in the vitamin D receptor .
Many other foods and nutrients may affect the health of your hair. If you experience hair loss, you may be interested in the 14 best foods for hair growth.
8. Muscle Pain
The causes of muscle pain are often difficult to pinpoint.
There is some evidence that vitamin D deficiency may be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults .
In one study, 71% of people with chronic pain were found to be deficient.
The vitamin D receptor is present in nerve cells called nociceptors, which sense pain.
One study in rats showed that a deficiency led to pain and sensitivity due to stimulation of nociceptors in muscles .
A few studies have found that taking high-dose vitamin D supplements may reduce various types of pain in people who are deficient .
One study in 120 children with vitamin D deficiency who had growing pains found that a single dose of the vitamin reduced pain scores by an average 57% .
How Much Vitamin D do I need a Day?
There are three ways to improve the amount of vitamin D in your system. Simply adding an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement can make improvements in just three to four months’ time. Vitamin D with a strength of 2000 international units daily is the recommended dose for most adults. However, you’ll want to chat with your doctor to find what’s right for you.
What Foods Have Vitamin D?
You can also get more vitamin D into your body through your diet. Some vitamin D rich foods include:
• Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring or sardines• Cheese• Milk• Egg yolks• Beef liver• Cod liver oil• Shrimp• Mushrooms

Other processed foods with added vitamin D usually says “fortified with vitamin D” on the package. These products include dairy products, orange juice and cereal.

Can I Get Enough Vitamin D from the Sun?

Finally, you can take in vitamin D by spending time outside in the sunshine. People in the Midwest may not be able to get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone. It breaks down very rapidly, so in colder months, when we don’t see the sun frequently, we likely don’t get enough natural vitamin D production. If you are using the sunshine for a vitamin D boost, you only need about 10-15 minutes in direct sun to reap the benefits. Remember, too much sun is a risk factor of skin cancer. Wear sunscreen and you’ll still get your daily dose. 

How Can I Test for Vitamin D Deficiency?

To check for a deficiency, a simple blood test will do the trick. Talk to your doctor about getting the test scheduled with your lab.

“The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. Many experts place the ideal level between 40 and 80 ng/mL with levels below 20 ng/mL as deficient,” Dr. Jenkins says.
However, you’ll want to check with your insurance company before getting too far down the road. Dr. Jenkins says, in her experience, the test isn’t always covered and it could set you back 100 to 200 dollars.

“There are also at-home vitamin D test kits you can order online. I see more patients doing these types of tests to save money and time. The average kits can cost anywhere between 70 and 120 dollars,” Dr. Jenkins says. 

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption and bone metabolism.Many older people who are diagnosed with bone loss believe they need to take more calcium. However, they may be deficient in vitamin D as well.