You eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, sweat several times a week, and slather on the SPF before catching any rays. You’re making healthy choices in nearly every aspect of your life, but could be neglecting one very important issue that increases your risk for high blood pressure and diabetes by two and a half times, says Michael Holick, MD, author of TheVitamin D Solution and professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University Medical Center. In fact, one billion people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
“Insurance and Medicaid often cover a blood test,” says Carole Beggarly, director of GrassrootsHealth, a non-profit that aims to increase awareness about vitamin D deficiency (and how to fix it). “It’s helpful to be thorough and see where you’re at so you know how much to supplement.” If the assay, the most commonly ordered blood test ordered in the US, finds that you’re low in D, talk to your doctor about supplementation. (It will likely take the form of about 600 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, which is chemically the same as the vitamin your body produces with the sun’s help.)
Whether you get pricked or decide to pass, here are the top 5 signs that you might be d-ficient.
- Excessive sweating
- Noticeable—and unexpected—weakness
- Broken bones
- Chronic pain
- A down-in-the-dumps mood