My hormone journey: Vitamin D

So I wrote a while ago about my doctor’s appointment that I had all the way back in the middle of March  about issues that I have been having related to my hormones. What I keep forgetting to do is update you on the results of those blood tests!

In the beginning of April, I had an appointment with yet a different doctor (she was available sooner than my GP who am technically assigned to) and I loved her. Frankly, I’m not sure if she’s there on a permanent basis, full-time or part-time. I’ve never seen her before, and between me and the kiddo, I’ve been to our local doctors a lot, but I took a liking to her instantly. Yes, it was a drag to recount yet again all of the issues I had been having to bring her up to speed, but I felt like when I mentioned things like tracking my cycles, using the Fertility Awareness Method to get in touch with my body and knowing exactly when I was ovulating from taking my basal body temperature, she didn’t look at me like I was some crazy woman using psuedo science and reading tea leaves to track my health.

She told me that all of my blood tests came back normal, completely in the middle ranges, nothing borderline, which was a bit dismaying, as I didn’t have an answer. She did say that my LH (luteinizing hormone) was low, though and wanted to get that tested again along with Estradiol (estrogen), Prolactin and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) again for good measure. I agreed, but then mentioned that I was also immediately concerned with my very low energy levels. Then she mentioned two words that changed my life:

Vitamin D. 

She asked if I had been taking any. I fumbled, “sure, it’s included in my multivitamin, but I don’t know how much is in there to be honest with you”. Doc then said that the NHS recommends everyone takes Vitamin D in the UK, especially in the colder months. She told me the range they advised people to take was 18-1600 IU each day. We got my new round of blood tests booked and said goodbye.

I practically raced home and went straight to the medicine cabinet to look on the side of the bottle of my multivitamins (after explaining to hubby how the appointment went, of course). Mine had 20 IU. I had a bottle of calcium supplements knocking around in there too because I’m lactose intolerant, but hadn’t really touched them lately. It contained a lot of Vitamin D because it’s a cofactor that helps your body absorb and make use of the calcium you ingest. If I took the recommended dosage of that plus my multivitamin, I would be consuming the high end of that, about 1400IU daily. So I did.

The difference to my energy levels and anxiety was massively improved within 24 hours. You know Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz when she goes from the black and white tornado and lands in Oz where everything is in full technicolor? It was a lot like that. I had more energy than I had had in a very long time. I was able to play and interact with my family in exactly the way I’ve always envisioned and wanted to. It was insane that one simple vitamin (that actually works a lot like a hormone in the body) can make such a huge difference to my energy levels. Plus, my anxiety seemed like tiny blips on my conscious mind’s radar rather than huge waves threatening to crash down and take over my day.

Further research afterwards has revealed that Vitamin D deficiencies can have psychological consequences and can exacerbate depression and anxiety. I feel like since then, I’ve been having this conversation with pretty much everyone I meet or talk to, just to spread the awareness.

And for what it’s worth, I thought that my diet was sufficient in Vitamin D because I regularly eat cold water fish such as tinned salmon, mackerel and sardines and I eat whole eggs too. Guess not after all! I do spend a lot of time outside, but admittedly I tend to wear sunscreen pretty often being Californian born and bred, despite the English (lack of) sun.

So if you’re feeling brain fog, consistently low energy levels and your depression or anxiety feels quite intense, invest in a quality Vitamin D supplement — eat it with fat because it helps absorption — and see if that helps.

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