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Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal

December 13th, 2016

Winter coming on......

You Are My Sunshine

Do you already have the winter blues and it is only mid-December? Do you feel sad when the sun doesn't shine?

Does abnormal anxiety (things that don't usually make your feel anxious), especially in the mornings, go along with your "feeling under a cloud?" Do you think you are beginning to lose your mind? Are you also experiencing "brain fog" (difficulty thinking clearly) or poor sleep? (This is beginning to sound like a TV commercial!) If you also feel tired all the time, have bone pain and muscle aches, you may have low vitamin D.

This is the time of year that low vitamin D symptoms start to show up. Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin". Exposure to the sun stimulates vitamin D production in the skin. When the cooler weather comes, we tend not to go outside as much, and when we do, our skin is mostly covered up with coats, hats and scarves.

If you practice extended breastfeeding, (I highly recommend this, by the way!), do not drink milk, do not take vitamin D supplements, are inside most of the time, are over 60 years old, have dark skin, and live in northern climates, then you may be at increased risk of low vitamin D.

If you go to the doctor with the symptoms listed above, more of them are becoming aware of the growing epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. But many doctors still are not aware of it and will suggest drugs for anxiety, drugs for sleeping, etc. If you have any of the above symptoms, go to the doctor and request a vitamin D blood draw. Once you get the results, if you are low, the doctor will recommend a course of action. I feel very strongly that we are responsible for our own health. I did my own research (on reputable web sites) and educated myself on the topic and made sure that my doctor was following the correct protocol. No one cares about my health as much as I do.

I had low vitamin D two years ago at this time of year. I had some of the above symptoms. After about three months of not feeling myself, I did a bunch of reading and felt I was either low calcium or low D. I started taking calcium with D ( Puritan's Pride is my source; much cheaper than Wal-Mart) and starting sitting in the sun between 10 am and 2 pm for 20 minutes every day. I noticed a minor improvement in a few days. In the meantime, I went to the doctor and requested a vitamin D and calcium check. At my appointment the doc wanted to give me drugs for my morning anxiety. He knew better than to suggest that to me. "Just a vitamin D test, please."

My vitamin D test levels came back below normal (I was never so happy to see a below normal test!) and I started supplementing at 5,000 IU. I began to feel better but it took a full three months before I felt completely back to normal. After my levels came into the normal range, I tried to lower my dose to 2,000 IU under the doctor's recommendation. I have found that I need 4,000 IU in the summer and 6,500 IU in the winter months. (Everyone is different, so learn what works for you.) I take vitamin D with my meals and some before bed. I use a pill case and I take my vitamin D and calcium religiously. I still try to get out in the sun for at least 20 minutes per day.

The reason I take the time to write this is because I hate to see people suffer needlessly if vitamin D is their only problem. The solution is simple, cheap and doesn't mess with your body's complicated systems like drugs do.*


Caleb and Gerald getting their daily dose of sunshine!

*This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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