Our guest contributor Anupriya Kapur shares her experience with tackling Vitamin D deficiency.
A couple of years back when I was in Philippines, I was training for one of the long distance runs. And during one of those training runs, I felt a sharp pain in my ribs. I ignored it, thinking that it might be a stitch. But after a couple of minutes, I found it hard to walk or even breathe. The slightest movement hurt. The cause was misdiagnosed for 5 months and by that time the pain had spread to the entire rib cage and an MRI showed a healed fracture on one of the ribs. I used to be irritable and in constant pain.
The long and short of it is that a full body check-up revealed extremely low levels (fatal) of Vitamin D. I got two back-to-back shots and it didn’t take too long for the pain to subside. I was so traumatized by the pain that it took me almost two years to start running again. But when I did, I took a 50 km trail run (my first such distance) challenge head on, half the time worrying that I will come back with a broken rib! I completed the run (with a huge grin on my face) and have done several half and full marathons since then. I have also been getting my regular annual check-ups done and taking Vitamin D supplements as per the doctor’s advice.
This also led me to start urging all my friends (mostly women) to get their levels checked. I wasn’t surprised that all of them had low levels. All of them also admitted having unexplained aches, pains, general fatigue, numbness, lethargy and mood swings. Despite ample sunshine that our country gets, as per some reports, 80% of Indian population has this deficiency.
As women, especially mothers, we tend to forget that we can only take good care of our families if we are healthy and strong. And we need to invest in our well-being too. I can’t reiterate that more. And the ‘good’ thing about a Vitamin D deficiency as my doctor had pointed out , “It’s a wonderful problem; when treated it disappears completely”.
- You should definitely get your annual check-up done once you are 30 plus. All good diagnostic centers offer packages and are only a phone call away. Do it now.
- Don’t shy away from supplements (as per doctor’s recommended dosage, of course), if required. Because there’s not too much a typical Indian diet offers which has plenty of Vitamin D.
- Try to get 15-20 minutes of sunshine between 7am-10am.
- Exercise to strengthen muscles and improve bone health. There is plenty to choose from and it doesn’t necessarily have to be rigorous. Take time out for 20 minutes yoga routine, a 10 minute simple weight training (3 times a week) at home, walk for 30 minutes every alternate day.
- Eat well and in moderate portion size. I don’t think I need to elaborate much on this. Eggs, mushrooms, cheese and salmon are high on Vitamin D.
Good health brings us a freedom that only some of us realise, until we no longer have it. Hope this helps. I would be happy if you can share your experiences in the comments section.
Read more articles by the author here.