A lack of Vitamin D is fairly common in Lupus patients. Once I was diagnosed with Lupus, my rheumatologist did blood tests that revealed I was severely deficient. They weren’t at all surprised at those results. Lupus had left me severely limited in mobility. Plus, my writing career had me working indoors most of the time. No sun equals no Vitamin D.
My doctors prescribed a high dose supplement right away. I wasn’t satisfied with just that. You see, I had heard that the best Vitamin D comes naturally from the sun and that supplementing can lead to issues from the excess. Here’s the changes I made in my lifestyle that help me keep my Vitamin D levels up with Lupus, beyond supplementation.
I did take the supplements, at first.
I was severely deficient. Therefore, doing so brought no great risk of an overdose. However, I knew that taking massive doses of Vitamin D when deficient, was very different than continuing those high dosages on a permanent basis. Therefore, I decided to gradually wean myself from the supplements with the help of the sun.
I’m lucky in some respects with Lupus.
Most Lupus patients have severe reactions to the sun. As for me, it does bring on extreme fatigue and flu-like symptoms at times. I can’t stay out in the sun, unprotected, for long periods of time. On the other hand, I don’t have to worry about fatal Lupus flares or severe rashes from sun exposure. Don’t get me wrong, I have some crazy stuff going on that those other Lupus patients don’t experience too. Still, it’s nice to be able to get my Vitamin D naturally.
I soak up the sun, in small doses.
While it’s true that the form of Lupus I have does not cause severe sun toxicity, who knows when that will change? So, even though I don’t have that reaction now, I’m careful about how long I spend outdoors. I also spent a good amount of time acclimating in small doses before I worked my way up to where I can stay outside for a couple hours at a time. That’s miraculous for someone with Lupus.
I stopped wearing sunscreen and sunglasses all the time.
This is a personal choice. I would never presume to tell anyone with or without Lupus to take this measure. It’s one of those risks that could pay off or could go very badly. For me, though, it was a good choice. Why do I do it? I learned that Vitamin D is best produced through the absorption of the sun through the skin and eyes. Using sunscreen and wearing sunglasses prevents this from happening. Don’t worry. When I am in the sun for long periods, I use protection. After all, you only need ten to fifteen minutes of daily sun to get all the Vitamin D you need.
Gardening has become my Lupus savior.
I know that my choice doesn’t work for everyone with Vitamin D deficiencies and Lupus. Still, when I started gardening actively, my Vitamin D deficiency went straight out the window. I have no issues with it any more. I’m feeling a lot better. In fact, there are actually days now where I forget that I’m sick. That’s because when I have everything I need, nutritionally, my symptoms lessen. Who knows? Maybe some day, they’ll disappear altogether. Stranger things have happened.
Please note: The author is not a licensed medical professional. This article is not intended to replace professional advice or consultation.
More from Jaipi:
Finding New Hobbies When Chronically Ill
5 Ways to Encourage Hair Growth when Toxic Meds Cause Hair Loss
Gardening Closer to the Sun with Lupus