In addition to the worries and health concerns surrounding coronavirus, quarantine has impacted physical health and mental wellness for many people. One outcome of quarantine is that many people are spending much more time inside, which means less exposure to sunlight. This reduces the body’s production of vitamin D, potentially leading to both physical and mental health concerns.
Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Though we can get vitamin D from certain foods and supplements, sunlight is a primary source. This vitamin is important for health in terms of regulating the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D also supports immune system function, resistance against certain diseases, and strength of bones and teeth. Therefore, the effects of quarantine and less exposure to sunlight can significantly increase health risks associated with vitamin D deficiencies.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiencies
There are several symptoms of potential vitamin D deficiencies. Some of these signs include:
- Tiredness and/or fatigue
- Body aches and pains or sense of being unwell
- Muscle pain and/or weakness
- Lower body stress fractures
In addition to impacting physical health, research also shows that vitamin D can affect our mental well-being. This is especially true when it comes to regulating mood and resisting the effects of depression. Studies indicate that people with anxiety and depression tend to have lower levels of vitamin D and that maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D can mitigate symptoms associated with depression.
A blood test can reveal vitamin D deficiency, and your doctor can prescribe treatment to restore your vitamin D levels.
Restoring Vitamin D Levels
If you are experiencing any symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, you should consult your doctor. Depending on blood test results, your doctor may recommend daily vitamin D supplements. It’s also important to get a safe amount of sunlight each day if possible and eat foods rich in vitamin D such as fortified milk, cereal, and orange juice.
Restoring and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels is more important than ever during COVID-19 and quarantine as a means of supporting your immune system and regulating mental health.