Feeling tired and lethargic? Check your vitamin D levels

vitDI have discussed the supplements I take in a previous post but I believe it’s worth mentioning again now as we move into the darkest part of the year here in the northern hemisphere. In particular I want to talk about Vitamin D and its importance to overall health & well-being. 

Vitamin D is essential for among other things absorption of calcium. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium helps our blood clot, nerves send messages and muscles contract . About 99 percent of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth. Hence reduced vitamin D intake will also affect your calcium absorption abilities, regardless of whether you are getting enough or not. After LCHF, this is perhaps the most important other aspect of my diet, something that I follow closely, particularly in the winter months when that other important source of vitamin D, the sun, is not available. Like most people, I was not getting anywhere near enough, either from the sun or diet. As soon as I started supplementing there was a dramatic change in mood and energy levels, particularly in the winter months. Quite simply, the more I took as supplements, the better I felt!

Sun derived Vitamin D stimulates powerful hormones that have a direct influence on our general mood and alertness. It’s the physiological reason why we feel so good when we are exposed to direct sunlight and has led to it being called the “sunshine vitamin”.

How much should I be taking?

Vitamin D is a fat absorbent vitamin and so will be stored in the body to some extent. Hence, in theory, it is possible to take too much vitamin D. However, in practice, this is very difficult since you would need to be taking 1000-2000 ug/ day for a couple of months at least before your body approached danger levels. You’d have to be consuming a whole bottle of pills/day which would break your bank before it breaks you! The exact amounts I am taking are detailed here and I found that last week, in sympathy with the rapidly shortening days , I started yawning mid-afternoons and feeling lethargic. I immediately boosted my Vitamin D intake by 50-100 ug and felt alert again. Since then, I have had no tiredness symptoms at all. I intend to maintain this elevated intake until at least the spring.

We are all different (critically, different weights) so don’t be scared to experiment and find out what works for you. The safe range you have to work with from current recommendations of 10-20 ug/ day for adults (pitifully low!) to 1000ug/ day (dangerously high) is HUGE. In general, when it comes to Vitamin D, the more the better, so don’t hold back!

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2 thoughts on “Feeling tired and lethargic? Check your vitamin D levels

  1. just had a quick look online – most vit D supplements seem to be 10 to 25 ug. Where do you source yours?

    • Hi Hugh,

      Yeah your “standard” pills come in that size. Where I live, Lidl stocks 25 & 50 so naturally we go for the 50s. You have to shop around for 100s and they are available on an ad-hoc basis from other discount stores here. Failing that, a chemists should have the full range from 10s to even 200s. Hope that helps.

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