Some of us love soaking in the sun, while others find ways to shun it completely. Some find the warmth pleasing, while others will do everything possible to avoid sunburn, tans, and rashes. Well, do you know that the sun helps raise vitamin D levels in our bodies and that the vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several health issues? Yes, that’s right!
It’s also worth noting that even in a sunny place like India, people experience a wide range of vitamin D deficiency symptoms. This shouldn’t be surprising as we are increasingly sedentary and spend little time outdoors in the sunlight. When we do venture out, it’s usually with a layer of sunscreen slathered on!
If you suffer from a vitamin D deficiency or have noticed any low vitamin D symptoms, you should take this quiz to find out.
Calculate the points for each of your answers and tally the scores below.
1. What is your age?
A. Below 20 years (1 point)
B. 20 to 30 years (1 point)
C. 30 to 40 years (2 points)
D. Above 40 years (3 points)
2. How much sun do you get between 11 am and 1 pm every day?
A. None (3 points)
B. 10 to 20 minutes (2 points)
C. 20 to 40 minutes (1 point)
3. What is your skin tone?
A. Dark (3 points)
B. Wheatish (2 points)
C. Fair (1 point)
4. How much vitamin D-rich foods do you have in a day?
A. Fatty fish (1 point)
B. Fortified milk (1 point)
C. Beef liver (1 point)
D. Egg yolks (1 point)
5. How often do you apply sunscreen?
A. Immediately when you step into the sun (3 points)
B. Sometimes or only when stepping out for a long time (2 points)
C. Never (1 point)
6. How many of the following signs of vitamin d deficiency do you experience? (1 point for each)
A. Tiredness in small tasks
B. Feeling sleepy in spite of having a good rest
C. Pale face
E. Frequent sprains or hairline fractures
F. Body ache
G. Specific muscle or part of the body hurting often
H. Muscle weakness
I. Low bone density
J. Muscle cramps
K. Chronic back, knee or neck pain
L. Low stamina
M. Slow healing of wounds
N. Drastic hormonal changes
15 to 30: It is highly advisable that you get a vitamin d deficiency test done. The likelihood that you have low vitamin D levels is extremely high and testing will help determine the extent of your vitamin D deficiency. Doctors can also gauge the severity of a vitamin D deficiency, based on the reported vitamin D deficiency symptoms. At the same time, some individuals might experience only a few or no symptoms, but it can affect your health in the long run, causing chronic pain and bone issues. Step into the sun often and have vitamin D-rich foods. Additionally, check with your nutritionist to get you a supplement that adds 800 IU (the recommended amount of vitamin D) daily. If you are over the age of 40, have dark skin, wear sunscreen often, and work or stay indoors you might need a higher dose of the supplement.
10-15: Well done, you don’t have a complete lack of vitamin D, but you may have borderline deficiency. Your levels may just be enough to prevent critical diseases like osteoporosis, but you may still experience weakness, mood swings, and body aches. Increase your intake of vitamin D fortified foods and check with your nutritionist if you need a supplement to boost vitamin D levels.
1-10: Congratulations! Your vitamin D levels are up to the mark. However, don’t sit back and relax. Ensure that you get enough sun exposure to maintain high vitamin D levels and also make it a point to eat a variety of foods that are known to be good sources of vitamins like vitamin D. If you are already on some supplement, do not stop or change the dosage without consulting an expert. The best way to check your vitamin D levels is with a blood test.