For today’s post, Alex from Chronically Alex Jean shares the importance of vitamin D and chronic illnesses. I wanted to shed some light on chronic illnesses because there isn’t enough awareness surrounding them in general! Vitamin D is naturally taken in through being outdoors in the sunshine, but it is hard to do this when you are constantly fatigued or in pain. I am a firm believer that nature has a key role in lifting my mood which is so important with a chronic illness.
We’ve all heard time and time again how helpful vitamin D can be for our mental and physical health. The sun, where we can get vitamin D for free, packs a punch with its benefits to our bodies. When it comes to chronic illness most folks think of those who are unwell and staying inside. The correlation between getting time outside and the sun and chronic illness isn’t as widely discussed as it should be. Just like anybody, vitamin D brings many benefits to it. However, when living with a chronic illness, compromised immune system or chronic pain, it can bring even more benefits and help individuals’ health journeys.
As a chronic illness warrior, myself, I know firsthand how important time outside and in vitamin D is. When I get unbearable pain or am incredibly unwell due to flare, I’m not going to lie, I hermit inside. However, that can be more harmful to our health than we know.
Ready to dive into the importance of vitamin D and chronic illnesses? Keep reading if so!
Ways to get Vitamin D
You can get vitamin D through a supplement vitamin, or you can utilize the power of the sun. When considering taking a Vitamin D supplement speak to your health care professional for accurate dosing and how long to take the supplement.
Vitamin D can also be absorbed through your skin through UV rays. Daily exposure to sunlight can help provide Vitamin D, aiming to get 20-30 minutes a day can be powerful and helpful. This can also be broken up over the day into small sections of five 5-minute intervals outside in the sun if you cannot be outside for a prolonged period. Everyone needs a different amount of Vitamin D, the before-mentioned time is an average. Speak to your medical professional about your Vitamin D levels to know if you need a longer daily time.
One of the most common benefits known of Vitamin D is its powerful mood-boosting properties. Spending time getting vitamin D in sunlight, or through supplements can help with improving your mood, reducing mood swings, and helping increase your positive mindset and outlook. When living with chronic pain or chronic health conditions, vitamin D is incredibly important to help with improving your mood and reducing stress.
Living with chronic illnesses and invisible illnesses can come with an increase in inflammation which can cause further health problems. Vitamin D when metabolized by the body can help with reducing and slowing inflammation in the body. The amount of inflammation and your inflammation markers are unique to your body and speaking to a medical professional about the amount of Vitamin D you need to help reduce your inflammation is encouraged. Spending more time in the sun, and letting your body absorb Vitamin D is helpful to your body in defending against inflammation.
Help reduce and control infections
Vitamin D helps with fighting bacterial infections and can reduce infection severity. As Vitamin D is necessary for your immune system to function correctly, this plays a key role in your body being able to defend against infection and diseases. Giving your body a Vitamin D boost can be helpful in reducing infections, illnesses, and viruses. When living with chronic pain or chronic illnesses, the immune system may not function as well. Therefore, a boost of Vitamin D can help ensure those barriers against germs and infections are helpful.
Reduce Chronic Pain
Similar to mood-boosting, getting vitamin D helps to reduce the feeling of pain in the body, and is specifically helpful for those with chronic pain. As Vitamin D works to reduce inflammation and boost your serotonin it helps with reducing the pain receptors in your nervous system to help reduce the pain felt. Now, I’m not saying sitting in some sunshine will not make you feel any pain at all. However, it is likely to help reduce the pain felt in most instances. A lack of Vitamin D (or being deficient in Vitamin D) can also increase nerve pain felt in the body, and therefore increasing Vitamin D can help with reducing neuropathic pain.
Vitamin D is such a helpful vitamin that we’re able to absorb so much from just the sunlight outside! This can be helpful, and a powerful tool when living with chronic pain, and chronic illnesses. As mentioned above, speak to your medical professional about your Vitamin D levels and how much you need each day to best understand your individual health and how much can help your health.
Thank you to Caroline for having me as a guest on her blog! You can find my content on Chronically Alex Jean where I dive into all things chronic illness and chronic health. You can also follow me along on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Thank you so much to Alex for sharing this incredibly informative piece! Having a chronic illness has made me hyper-aware of the different vitamins, foods etc. which can help your body so I will see if I can get vitamin D supplements for winter when there’s less sun around.
Best wishes, Cx