I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Awesome, my new endocrinologist, this week and wanted to give everyone an update. At our March appointment, she ordered a slew of tests to rule out every possible condition that might be contributing to my symptoms. As it turns out, I am ridiculously healthy. Like, super-healthy. My doctor is only a few years older than me and thin and she wishes she could have numbers like mine. Despite having a family history of heart problems and diabetes, type 1 and 2, my blood pressure and sugar levels are phenomenal, my cholesterol is even lower than it was at my lowest weight, and even though I have a history of insulin resistance, she said my healthy, low-glycemic diet is keeping my insulin levels in check. The only problem she did report is that I apparently have the vitamin D levels of a vampire (vitamin D is derived from the sun). Since I am severely deficient in it, she wrote me a prescription for 50,000IU a week and warned that the pharmacist might blink when he sees it (recommended dosage for people ages birth to 50 is 200IU a day). She also wrote a prescription to check my vitamin B12 levels. Vitamin B12 is mostly found in meat, dairy products and eggs and since I’m a vegetarian who eats the latter two sparingly, she suspects I’m low in that, too. As for my other symptoms, she’s referring me to a reproductive endocrinologist to confirm PCOS.
Vitamin D and B12 work together in ways my liberal arts brain can not even begin to articulate, but suffice it to say, low levels of either or both increase your risk for several cancers. Defiencies in either can also cause fatigue, which is one of my complaints. The most common symptom of a vitamin B12 deficiency is anemia. Vitamin D deficiencies prevent calcium absorption which can damage your bones, so I would think that anyone with a history of anorexia should especially be tested for it. People with thyroid diseases and disorders are also commonly deficient in vitamin D and since the thyroid and vitamin D are closely related, thyroid patients should have their levels checked and rechecked. For more on vitamin D and the thyroid, read here.
Have I mentioned how awesome it is to have a doctor who actually listens to you and sees your weight as a symptom and not a cause of all your health woes? I only wish I had found her ten years ago.