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If you're regularly fatigued, are you Vitamin_D deficient?

resonance: 26.5% from: robg

For the last seven or eight years I dealt with an uncontrollable need to sleep in the middle of the afternoon each day. This problem got so bad that I had to move a futon into my grad school office so I could get a brief nap each day to recharge for the often long evening of work ahead. My current primary care doctor thought I might have a sleeping disorder. However, I once worked in a sleep lab and I know that I have no problem getting a good night's rest. I had none of the signs of a sleep disorder. I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go on the day. But then the problem hit in the mid-afternoon and I was toast if I didn't lie down for a nap.

In October of 2008, my mother-in-law, a fantastic nutritionist, looked at me and said I was Vitamin_D deficient and that I should get tested as soon as possible. Sure, enough I did and I was. And I wasn't just borderline deficient but well-below the most recent recommendations from the Vitamin_D Council. Over the last year I've struggled to bring my levels up to a more accepted baseline. For those of you that don't know, Vitamin_D is produced by the skin in direct response to the sun's ultraviolet light. Typically 15 minutes in direct sunlight is enough to produce sufficient quantities of Vitamin_D. The problem is we need direct sunlight on our skin and without sunscreen or clothing. Given my penchant for getting into the office early and leaving late, I have little doubt that I went for years without getting sufficient sunlight to produce enough Vitamin_D. Now my body just doesn't seem to produce Vitamin_D on its own.

Within a week of starting a daily regimen of 2000 mg of Vitamin_D my afternoon fatigue completely went away. Quite literally, this was a problem I dealt with for years and it was gone within a week. Over the last year I've continued to take Vitamin_D supplements even as my levels are still not quite within normal ranges. Even after two weeks of hiking in Peru, and in short sleeves, it didn't seem as if my body was producing Vitamin_D based on a blood test I took when I returned. From two weeks of not taking Vitamin_D supplements my levels had actually dropped. One problem is that I was prescribed a 15,000 IU dose but in the D2 form of the vitamin. The D3 is more easily converted and stored by the body. Now I'm taking 5,000 IU of the D3 form each day for the next few months to see if we can get my body producing Vitamin_D on its own again. The afternoon fatigue has yet to return and I feel energized from morning to late night.

Even while a web search for "fatigue" and "Vitamin_D" returns many results, it's still not clear if my anecdote is more broadly true. However, if you or someone you know is suffering from fatigue and any number of symptoms, why not suggest a test for Vitamin_D deficiency? It's a very simple blood test involving serum 25(OH)D levels. Levels under 35–55 ng/mL should be concerning though results toward the higher end are preferred.

For more information, I suggest the Vitamin_D council:
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

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