I often preach the value of taking a daily multivitamin pill, particularly in light of how our modern lives are lived. In an article I have posted elsewhere entitled “Should You Take a Daily Multivitamin”, point out how we live our lives these days and how people’s individual situations usually make it in their best interest to at least supplement their nutritional intake with some general, all purpose, daily vitamin pill.
However, I have seldom studied, written about, or discussed the value of individual vitamins, minerals, or supplements.
A recent personal experience, combined with a little research, has moved me to write about one nutrient in particular. At least when I began my researches, I was looking into Vitamin D only, but I soon learned that to discuss this topic without mentioning calcium is only telling part of the story.
The personal experience was that my wife, a particular person with a particular medical history, began experiencing what a doctor eventually determined was probably symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency. When my wife began to take a Vitamin D supplement regularly, a major portion of her symptoms cleared up.
This led me to do the research I mentioned, and what I learned led me not only to write this article, but to look at my own vitamin and mineral supplementation regimen as well.
My Wife’s Symptoms
First, my wife is 51 years old, overweight (she admits it freely), does not get outside much, and had the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery about seven years ago. I will add that she began having some of her symptoms a couple of years ago, about five years after she had the surgery. She does take a daily multivitamin supplement and a daily B-12 supplement.
A while back, my wife began experiencing chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, an increase in Candida infections, high blood pressure, and depression.
She had a history of anemia and her iron was low, so she was treated for that. She began menopause about the same time, so some of her experiences were ascribed to at least possibly being related to that. While in training for a new job, she began having dizzy spells, more heart palpitations, and mini-blackouts. Some testing indicated that she had a growth in her abdomen (tumor?), and on her thyroid. Her iron levels, which had been treated, had dropped again. She was going through menopause, constantly fatigued, she lost her new job because she could not perform the required actions, she was depressed (surprise?), and she had to undergo a long and expensive series of medical testing.
While she got a little immediate relief from some of the fatigue by receiving intravenous iron treatments, the seemingly unending round of testing showed that everything seemed to be normal, and there was no apparent medical reason for all the problems she was experiencing.
Then, one doctor diagnosed a possible problem which had been overlooked by other physicians. This doctor felt that my wife was exhibiting symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency.
We pointed out that my wife was already taking a daily multivitamin with Vitamin D, but the doctor countered that, particularly due to the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure, she probably needed to supplement even more.
My wife started taking a daily Vitamin D supplement and experienced relief from the fatigue and depression in a few days.
Now, I do not want to imply that she began running around the room, singing all day, and everything was all better. No, but she DID experience visible (to me and her) relief from several of the symptoms which had been troubling her. She now has more energy and has lost the depression which was clouding her life for so long.
As I said, this experience led me to do some research on the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency, and this is what I found.
You cannot look at Vitamin D without looking at calcium. The relationship between calcium and Vitamin D is integral, and one cannot be separated from the other. Vitamin D’s main function is to assist the body in making use of calcium. In fact, if you examine what happens when a Vitamin D deficiency exists, you will note that the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency are almost identical to those of a calcium deficiency.
Rickets and Osteoporosis
While my wife did not experience these, at least not to our knowledge, Rickets and Osteoporosis, both conditions of the bones have long been linked to deficiencies in Vitamin D and/or calcium.
However, recent research is illuminating other symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, depression, fatigue, heart palpitations…the list goes on, and you may have noted some of my wife’s symptoms listed there.
Vitamin D is normally formed in our bodies by a reaction to direct sunlight on our skin. However, if we do not get enough sunlight, a deficiency can occur. Also, as we age, we have a bit more difficulty making and using Vitamin D. People who are obese also have a problem as Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and can be absorbed by the fat in the body, essentially taking it out of circulation.
People with digestive problems, either natural or artificial have problems using Vitamin D as some of its action occurs in the digestive tract.
My wife’s doctor pointed out that people who have had gastric bypass surgery, such as the Roux-en-Y procedure often experience symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency a few years afterwards.
Our personal experiences and beliefs are not to be taken as a medical diagnosis, as many of the conditions discussed in this article can arise from a wide range of causes. However, if you are experiencing what seems to be some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency, you definitely should discuss this with your doctor and do a little research on your own.