Vitamin D: Get more of it in 2021

vitamin D, woman with long hair wearing hat, holding hand on top of head, sitting in sunshine

The 2020 year is winding down. It’s taking a final curtain call, and then, it will be history. As we ring in a new year, many of us will make a list (at least, in our heads) of goals we hope to accomplish in 2021 and beyond. I encourage you to add this to your list of New Year’s resolutions: Get more vitamin D into your body! Don’t worry, you read that right, and it wasn’t an author or editing error.

Do you know that studies show that at least 80% of people who contract COVID-19, particularly those who do not fare well, are vitamin D deficient? In fact, one study found that having sufficient amounts of this necessary vitamin in the body lowered the risk of dying from COVID-19 by 50% or more. While it isn’t the only reason why you should make a conscious effort to get more vitamin D in the new year, it’s definitely a good one.

Men typically have lower vitamin D levels than women

vitamin D, guy making wide open eyes, wearing blood pressure cuff

I don’t want women to read that subtitle and think, “Okay, whew. Good. We’re in the clear.” because we’re not! However, men tend to have lower vitamin D levels than women. Might this be why men also typically struggle with high blood pressure more often than women? Many medical experts agree that there is a correlation. Various factors affect your likelihood of developing high blood pressure, including age. Interestingly, men are more prone to this condition before age 55 while women often develop it after menopause. In both cases, it’s helpful to increase vitamin D levels when the goal is to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Your body cannot make vitamin D

platter of raw tuna

I’m a Christian. As such, I’m often astounded and humbled by the many ways God incorporated care and nurturing for our bodies into the physical world He created for us. Case in point: Vitamin D. The human body doesn’t manufacture this critically necessary nutrient on its own. Our Creator, however, made sure we have ample opportunity to get what we need by making sunlight one of the greatest sources of vitamin D! Our bodies react to sunlight in many ways, one of which is that being in direct sunlight on  a regular basis stimulates natural production of vitamin D! Sadly, in recent decades, people have become afraid of direct sunlight. We’ve talked about this on The Hot Mess Press before, as you can see here. Getting fresh air and sunshine every day is GOOD for your health in most cases. (You should avoid sunlight when taking certain medications or if you have certain rare health conditions.)

Food is another source of vitamin D. You’re best bet is to regularly drink milk and also eat eggs or fatty fish and seafood, such as halibut, tuna, oysters or trout. Finally, there are supplements available in emulsion, liquid drops and capsule or tablet forms.

Is your body trying to tell you something?

woman in gray tee and jeans, holding neck as if in pain

Thing about vitamin D deficiency is that there may not be apparent symptoms of it until your levels are super low. With that in mind, however, there are certain symptoms that should alert you that you might not be getting enough of this essential nutrient. Fatigue that is constant and not related to over-exertion is a good reason to check your vitamin D level. Also, muscle weakness and aching bones are also red flags that your body might be deficient in this nutrient.

Surprisingly, vitamin D deficiency is reportedly also sometimes related to asthma. Other symptoms include bloating, digestive problems such as acid reflux or bowel trouble, such as diarrhea or constipation.

How does it function in your body?

vitamin D, sunflower, pitcher and glass of milk

Vitamin D basically exists in three forms: D-1, D-2 and D-3. It serves multiple functions in the body, the primary one being that it helps absorb phosphorous and calcium. It also strengthens the immune system and is a digestive aid. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, you’ll want to learn more about how this vitamin can help with these conditions.

The year 2020 was wrought with health concerns for many people. As we move on in life and try to restore a sense or normalcy in our daily lives, we should definitely make strengthening immune systems and improving our health a priority. When you’re determining what goals you want to accomplish in 2021, be sure to make getting more vitamin D one of them!

yellow caution sign with black border and exclamation point

Disclaimer and warning: This post isn’t meant as medical or health advice. The Hot Mess Press isn’t responsible for any action a person may or may not take after reading this article. Vitamin D can have adverse interactions with certain medications, which is why you should always consult a licensed physician and/or dietician when making health or diet changes.

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