Vitamin D is touted as one of the most important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, and for many reasons. A new study has found that lack of enough of this essential vitamin could be causing restless legs at night.
The study, which was published in the August 2014 issue of Sleep Breath, specifically related vitamin D deficiency with Restless Legs Syndrome. The study consisted of 12 people, each of which were diagnosed with the disorder. Each of the patients received vitamin D supplements, and every single one of them had seen improvements in their restless legs at night once their vitamin D levels went back to the normal range.
While many people have low vitamin D levels because of lack of sunlight or not eating the right foods, low vitamin D can also stem from dark skin pigmentation, certain medications, pregnancy, and abnormal intestinal absorption. Other studies similar to this also links vitamin D deficiency with muscle cramps, excessive sleepiness, and sleep apnea.
Benefits of Vitamin D
There are many great benefits to getting more vitamin D, not just with improving your restless legs and other sleep disorders. Vitamin D is an excellent way for helping your body absorb other nutrients, like calcium, which can help give you strong bones. This helps prevent rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.
It is possible to get too much calcium in your blood, which is caused by high levels of vitamin D. Consult with your doctor if you have confusion, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, or constipation after increasing your vitamin D.
The ideal level of vitamin D in your blood is around 50 nmol/L. Levels less than 30 nmol/L are considered too low for bone health — and overall health.
Your recommended daily allowance of vitamin D will change based on your goals, age and gender.
The recommended level of vitamin D is 600 IU per day for individuals aged 9 to 70 years, though you should speak to your doctor regarding what dosage is right for you. In general, people over the age of 50 years typically need more vitamin D than younger people.
How to Increase Your Vitamin D
The best way to get more vitamin D is with more sunshine. Just 15 minutes a day, three days a week, can help you get more vitamin D. Remember to wear sunscreen when you are outside. This will not affect how much vitamin D you can absorb in your skin, according to research out of King’s College London’s Institute of Dermatology.
Other ways include food sources, which also happen to be very good for a balanced diet. This includes fatty fish like smoked salmon, canned tuna fish or canned sardines, whole milk, and certain types of mushrooms. If you fail to get enough vitamin D through sunshine or food sources, you can take a daily supplement.
Following the study linking vitamin D levels with Restless Leg Syndrome, it is more important than ever to be sure you get all the necessary nutrients to avoid such uncomfortable conditions.
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