Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I am deficient in sunlight.

 I am deficient in the sunshine vitamin; Vitamin D. I first found out about it during my pregnancy with Cesilee. I was feeling extremely tired and just not right. My search led me to articles explaining how vitamin d deficiencies were a serious problem among pregnant/breastfeeding mothers. I was doing both. I researched more about it and realized that being a vegetarian and not getting  outside enough (it was winter in the midwest) put me at high risk. I discussed my concern with my midwife at the time and she ordered a blood test to check my levels. The results came back at 34 and normal is between 30-100 or 35-100 depending on your source. She blew it off as not a big deal but knowing that having this deficiency during pregnancy can lead to complications, I decided to take a supplement. I wasn't very researched on it and the midwife told me not to take more than 1,000 ius, I decided to start taking 800ius thinking that would help.
   Now lets fast forward a bit to my current situation. I gave birth to my beautiful girl Cesilee 4 weeks premature (due to pPROM) on December 29th, 2011. She is perfect and healthy and doing great. I however have been feeling progressively worse since the birth. I have frequent headaches, fatigue, and weakness. The biggest thing I noticed is that I didn't lose ANY of the pregnancy weight (30lbs) and I even started gaining more weight rapidly. I was eating pretty well, exercising, and nursing two babies; how was I not losing weight?  I just dont feel like myself and my intuition tells me that something is off. I discussed how I was feeling with my doctor at my postpartum checkup but at the time she just assumed it was from the stress of having two young kids and being postpartum. When things got worse and I developed depression, I started questioning that. My friends and family were picking up on things and encouraged me to make another appointment. You see at the time I was thinking that my vitamin d problem was getting better and wasn't thinking that was the issue.  My symptoms seemed like those experienced by friends and family who have thyroid diseases. Since I have a strong family history I decided to ask for some blood testing to see if mine was off. Many postpartum women experience that.
 At my appointment with my doctor I explained all of the symptoms and why I wanted to have my thyroid tested. She thought it sounded probable and was going to get the testing done but also saw I was taking some vitamin d and wanted to check how my levels were doing. Well yesterday a nurse from the doctors office called me to let me know that my thyroid was functioning fine but my vitamin D level was even lower. It was 20; down 14 since last check. They suggested I take a very high dose of a vitamin D supplement for 8 weeks and then come back to recheck my level. The doctor wanted to prescribe a supplement of 50,000 ius to take once a week however it was not available in a vegan form so I told them I would find it on my own, over the counter. I am taking a vegetarian capsule that supplies me 5,000 ius everyday. If that midwife would have treated my issue right away, it wouldn't be so bad now.
 So here I am not about to start the supplementation in hopes that soon I start to feel a whole lot better and start dropping this excess weight. Apparently you need to have sufficient vitamin D levels to lose weight. I am also supplementing the kids with some baby vitamin D drops. Cesilee needs it most since I am deficient (and breastfeeding her exclusively) and she was premature.
 I will keep updating on how I am feeling during this supplementing process. I encourage everyone to get their level tested. It is a simple blood test and vitamin D is so crucial to your health. I read that 40-60% of the entire US population is deficient. In most places spending time outdoors and eating fortified foods is not enough. Its recommended that everyone take a supplement to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D.
Here are some more links to learn about vitamin D deficiency and how to prevent it:
Women to Women; Vitamin D and your health
WebMD: Vitamin D Deficiency Overview
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Pregnancy Complication
Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy: clinical trial
World Health Orginization: Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy to prevent pre-eclampsia/eclampsia
Optimum levels of vitamin D during pregnancy
About Vitamin D
Vitamin D news

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I think a lot of people are deficient! I take 5,000-10,000 IUs per day now.

    Here is a blog post I wrote about it:

    (found your blog via Pinterest, something about EC I think)