Wednesday, August 7, 2013

the secret to my happiness

My mother keeps telling me how happy I seem in the last month or two.  She said I got my spark back.

At first I thought this was because ManFriend is out of my life; and while that did play a small part of my happiness, it wasn't the only reason.

This might not come as a shock to you, but vitamin D is important to our bodies.  It is responsible for maintaining normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorous, calcium absorption, modulation of cell growth, reduction of inflammation, protection from high blood pressure and cancer.

Vitamin D is found in cod liver oil, egg yolk, milk, fatty fish, cheese, liver, oysters, caviar, tofu, soy milk, salami, sausage, ham,  mushrooms and of course the sun's rays.

Most of the population has a vitamin D deficiency because we are mostly inside - we go from our homes to cars/transportation to work, back again and our diets aren't as good as they once were.  The normal level of vitamin D in adult women should be 30 - 100 ng/mL.  Last year, my blood test came back with a 7 ng/mL.

Tests: (1) Vitamin D25-OH,Total (VitD)
  1Vit D 25 Total      [L]  7 ng/mL                     30-100

My doctor didn't tell me to do anything about this and I had other issues with him, so this past year I changed doctors.  If I change doctors, it is mandatory to get a physical, so I did; my vitamin D was still low, but higher than the last two years, at 18 ng/mL. The first thing my new doctor did was give me a super high dose of vitamin D; she said my 7 was the lowest number she's ever seen/heard of.  For 12 weeks, I had to take one pill of 50,000 ng/mL a week.  It worked, my most recent blood test came back normal.

Tests: (2) Vitamin D25-OH Total (VitD)
  1Vit D 25 Total           42 ng/mL                    30-100

It isn't a coincidence that my happiness is back and my vitamin D levels are normal.  I've had 'seasonal depression' (seasonal affective disorder) for as long as I could remember. I love the spring, summer and beginning of the fall.  Once the winter comes and it gets dark and dreary, I hibernate and I am sad, grumpy, unmotivated, sluggish, depressed and have minimal energy.  It isn't in my head either, with my life coach, I've tracked my moods over the last 3-4 years.

Light therapy is one of the ways to treat seasonal affective disorder, but why use artificial light? I mean, I guess it is just because we don't get enough natural light in the winter...but why not just increase vitamin D?

It was like when I was a migraine sufferer, you get so used to having it, that is becomes part of you.  Then when you 'fix' your issues, and you get it again, you realize how debilitating it is and wonder how you dealt with it or 10+ years.  This is the same for my vitamin D deficiency, I am not sure how long exactly I've been deficient, it wasn't tested more than 4 years ago, but for the last 4 years I've been quite below the 'normal' level.

I am not saying that lack of sun is the only reason I was depressed, but I think it says a lot that my vitamin D level is now normal and I am happier.  I feel great right now and I am even sleeping better.

I will be sure to get vitamin D tested about every 6 months for a while until I know I am OK, because odds are that my levels will go back down because I am no longer on the supplement, I don't eat a lot of egg yolk, cheese or fatty fish because I am trying to loose weight (and I won't eat mushrooms or liver, and I have a hard time digesting lactose so I very rarely have milk) and I don't get enough sun (but yet now that I am older...I don't want a lot of sun either: burns, wrinkles and risk of skin cancer) and I also have a liver thing going on right now, so the odds are low they'll stay this high.

So, that's it.  I think my happiness is directly correlated to the vitamin D.  I am less moody, more motivated and when I have energy I WANT to do more...and I ACT on doing more.  I've made things happen.  If this is a 'normal' life...then I am in good shape because I have a lot more happiness planned for me.  I can only imagine the cloud I'll be floating on when I have that special man in my life to enhance my life even more,  maybe kids to share it with, and a fantastic family and good group of friends.  It makes me smile.

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