A few years ago, I didn’t know I was vitamin D deficient. My hair was falling out, my joints hurt, and I was constantly tired. However, I thought these symptoms were related to stress, not a vitamin deficiency. I grew up in a place with 299 sunny days out of the year. That’s a lot of sunshine. I wasn’t concerned about low vitamin D levels. I relocated to cities with less sunlight but I never had a reason to ask my medical doctor to check my vitamin D levels.
Fast forward to the summer of 2017 and my symptoms weren’t getting better. My hairstylist recommended I see a trichologist (a specialist trained in the diagnosis and treatment of hair and scalp problems such as hair loss, hair breakage, oily scalp, etc.) to find out why my hair was falling out. She analyzed my scalp, asked me detailed health-related questions, and promptly gave me a list of functional lab tests including a vitamin D blood test to order at my medical doctor’s office.
I was shocked to find out my vitamin D lab results were 19.9 ng/ml. That’s really low. Optimal blood levels range between 40-60 ng/ml. I immediately noticed my symptoms improve soon after I started taking a daily vitamin D3 supplement.
Who Should Get Screened?
The U.S. Endocrine Society recommends the following individuals or those with the following conditions get screened for vitamin D deficiency:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Liver failure
- Older adults with a history of falls/nontraumatic fractures
- Black and Latinx children and adults
- Pregnant and lactating women
- Obese children and adults
- Granuloma forming disorders: TB, sarcoidosis
- Some lymphomas
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that many people all over the world don’t get enough of. Do you think your vitamin D levels are low? Find out by getting your levels checked.