A Cure for Muscle Aches?
Depression and muscle aches also might be a sign you are low in these vitamins. In fact, the depression, as well as the muscles and bones aches in a vitamin D deficiency, mimic the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Boost intake of this vitamin and the pain vanishes, while mood improves. Researchers suspect that up to 90% of unexplained chronic muscle pain could result from poor vitamin D status.
Your body can make vitamins D, so why worry about whether you’re getting enough? Maybe because most Americans are deficient! In fact, more than 60% of Americans are woefully low in this vitamin. Nearly half of all people who take a supplement and think they are fine are actually deficient. That’s because four very important factors affect how well and how much vitamin D we make and, therefore, whether we are at risk for deficiency.
Age: Our bodies make vitamin D when skin is exposed to UVB sunlight. However, a person’s ability to manufacture vitamin D decreases with each passing decade, so by the time people enter their senor years, their bodies make as little as 20% of the vitamin D they made in childhood. In short, the older they are, the greater the risk for deficiency.
Location: People living north of the latitude running generally through Los Angeles and Atlanta typically are sun deprived and, consequently, low in vitamin D, especially during fall and winter. A recent study from the University of Georgia found that 75% of young girls had low blood levels for vitamin D, potentially placing them at risk for disease. If that many young girls living in sunny climates are low, it’s no wonder researchers suspect that everyone living in the north is low in vitamin D.
Skin Color: Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. Greater amounts of melanin result in darker skin. The high melanin content in darker skin reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight, which explains why African-Americans with a high level of melanin in their skin are 10 times more likely to be vitamin D deficient compared to fair-skinned people. Some studies suggest that older adults, especially women, in these groups are at even higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen blocks harmful UVB rays that cause skin cancer. That’s a good thing. But sunscreen also blacks the skin’s ability to make vitamin D. even a sunscreen with an SPF of 8 blocks vitamin D by 97.5%. So people who lavishly use sunscreen can develop a deficiency, even if they are out in the sun all day.