Extreme Fatigue From Vitamin D Deficiency
My husband had been feeling like a 90 year old (he's in his 40's) for about a year now, and after many different doctors, was tested for Vitamin D. His level came back 24, which is kind of low according the the reference range from the lab, but from what I read, optimal level are more like 50-80. He just took his first dose of 50,000 IU of Vitamin D, which he is to take once a week for three months. We are hoping that this is it-the cause of all the tiredness and pain.
He has been working in a building with no windows for 6 years and because of his commute sometimes doesn't even see the sun in the winter months. He grew up in a sunny climate but now lives in the mid-Atlantic states.
We started at the PCP who ordered all kinds of misc tests for arthritis, thyroid, testosterone, Lyme, etc. (all normal). Then we went to a neurologist wondering if he has MS. The MRI of the brain and the nerve test (EMG) were normal. We went to a sleep doctor and did another sleep lab since he has severe sleep apnea, and we were wondering if his pressure was still the right pressure on the CPAP machine.
Everything sleep apnea-wise was being treated just fine. Then we went to a rheumatologist who ordered a bunch of the original tests plus some more including Vitamin D. That was the only thing that came back abnormal. He is also taking 60 days of antibiotics "just in case" of the Lyme test being false-negative. Our daughter tested positive for Lyme & we live by a forest so it was within the realm of possibility. But the Lyme test has been negative both times for both recent and previous exposure.
His symptoms include EXTREME fatigue, bone pain, especially hip pain, muscle discomfort/weakness/aches, especially arms and lower legs, joint pain in elbows and knees, and unrefreshing sleep. He frequently feels like he needs to move his legs. Also, his legs often feel like they have weights attached to them, and when he gets up to walk, it looks like he has weights attached to them from the way he moves. Stairs are really hard and so is kneeling. His arms have a weak feeling to them. Sometimes he has tingling. His energy
level is very low and he sleeps a lot or at least rests on the couch a lot. He's also been diagnosed with depression and is taking antidepressants, which have helped his mood a lot, but not the tiredness. We are busy and have kids so we are used to a "normal" level of fatigue, but this goes WAY beyond that. I'm surprised he's been able to keep his job this year it's been so bad.
So I guess we're hoping that we've finally found the answer-I hope so. Should he be taking calcium too, or are the D supplements enough?
Well, it's likely that at least some or many of his symptoms are due to the vitamin d deficiency, and yes, you are right, an OPTIMAL vitamin d level is 50 to 80, so he's lower than you think.
Most people do not need to take calcium with their vitamin d, but they do need to take MAGNESIUM with the vitamin d- especially if he's got restless legs, which may already be a sign of magnesium deficiency as well.
But if he's just working all of the time, then part of his fatigue may also be lack of exercise too. You NEED exercise to be healthy and feel well, and if he's not exercising AND he has sleep apnea, he is at HUGE risk for heart disease- especially if he's also overweight- which is usually a BIG reason for sleep apnea.
And also, what about YOU!! If you live mid Atlantic, there is not vitamin d through the entire winter, so it's unlikely that YOUR vitamin d is any better- you do NOT get vitamin d through windows, so the amount of windows that you sit next to has no bearing on vitamin d levels.
So, please get yourself tested as well, I think that you will be SHOCKED at your numbers- they may be lower than your husband's!!!
And consider that even if his fatigue is improved with vitamin d, that his not getting exercise is a HUGE risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and a whole lot of other health problems- and that he may want to consider making that a priority in his life if he wants to be around to be there for you for the next 40 years.
Kerri Knox, RN