Depressed or Deficient?

It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with fatigue from time to time, some months worse than others. But I’ve always been able to right myself again within a few months and get my energy and drive back.

Almost two years ago I started working with a chiropractor friend of mine because it had gone on for over 6 months and I was tired of it. We supplemented my diet, I stayed away from sugar, nourished my body with food, and I rested as much as possible for a month or so. I definitely made a comeback: my energy was back, I was able to start working out again, my inner drive was there. It was great.

And then I got pregnant. And miscarried.

Man, has it been a rough comeback for me, and I’m still not there.

I ended up seeing a naturopath who I worked with to help a weak thyroid (diagnosed via nutritional response testing), but months later I was still feeling……. down. Yet I knew my body takes its sweet time balancing out; every pregnancy has been followed by the same cycles which finally get on track by about 6 months after weaning.

We kind of figured this time would be no different.

Many months went by and I was gentle with my body, giving it nourishment and supplementation and rest. Then we hit the 8 month mark post miscarriage and things were not right.

My ambition to get out of bed in the morning was gone, I struggle just to make it through each day. Foggy thinking was becoming my normal and the type A person I was many years ago had long been forgotten.

Was I depressed?

I’ve been depressed before and this just doesn’t feel like that. I wasn’t/am not hopeless, I love my life, and yet I am just so freaking tired I can’t get anything done. Or think straight.

Anxiety took hold of me after our loss like never before. And it wouldn’t let go. I began waking up at night and not being able to go back to sleep many times each week. Which I thought attributed to my tiredness, but even when sleeping a full eight hours, I still didn’t want to get out of bed. It was literally like first trimester tiredness has been hanging on; walking up the stairs even felt like work.

And the 10 pounds I gained during that pregnancy didn’t move either, something I’ve not yet had a problem with.

depression and vitamin deficiencies

So I made the decision over the summer to see my OB, and called to make the yearly “girly” exam appointment where I was going to ask for a full thyroid panel and vitamin D labs to be run. I had to schedule 8 weeks out, and by then…..let’s just say I had to call and cancel the day before. Girl stuff.

Figured I’d go see my MD and get in sooner as I’d have to wait another 7 weeks for the OB. Nope, just another 6 weeks and then his office called to cancel on the day of my appointment because he was sick.


So I finally just made an appointment with a holistic DO in town and paid out the wazoo. But at least the labs were done! And it was great to talk to someone who was an advocate for natural health; she even knew who Weston A Price was.

When I first got my results, I was slightly bummed because I felt like I didn’t have any definitive answers about what was going on with my physical health. But the more I looked at them, and the more I read up on different numbers and symptoms, the more I realized that it is the reason I’ve felt so crappy.

I’m not depressed, I’m just deficient.

  • I’m deficient in vitamin D, which I’ve talked about before as a common cause to infertility and imbalanced hormones.While the functional range she set for me is from 50-100, I’m just squeaking by at 32.
  • I also came up low on vitamin B-12, at only 396 with a functional range set at 700-1000. And after some reading on this I also found out that other countries use a minimum of 500-600, where conventional doctors here in the US think you have enough if you’re over 200.
  • I’m also slightly hypothyroid (so my muscle testing last year was correct and yet I was still unable to fix it) with a free T3 of 2.8. (the DO wants me over 3.2 or something)

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent many hours reading up on these specific vitamin deficiencies and realized that I’ve probably been dealing with them since I was young. And that while eating a whole foods diet has helped in many ways, there is still some work to be done! I’m also now a big believer that a traumatic life experience can in fact change your body physically.

I’ve also made changes in my diet, hoping to get this all figured out sooner rather than later, and I can’t wait to start talking about what I’m doing. Though getting my energy back is not a quick fix, so bear with me.

Have any of you dealt with vitamin deficiencies? How were you able to heal your body?

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. Hi Donielle! I have been going through a similar thing. Although we do not have children yet. I went through a couple of years of cancer and treatments. After that was done we started IVF. Neither IVF attempt worked. Now without the pressure of “rushing” to use the embryos we had, I am trying to spend this time healing and being gentle with myself. Only, I feel so lazy, b/c I can’t get anything done. Stranger still, I’ve always been a little more ambivalent about having kids, but since we had the final IVF and miscarried after 3wks, I have been more sad and emotional about not getting pregnant; not just feeling blue, but the REAL feelings of loss and disappointment that I hated myself for not having before. I noticed it recently when I hear of the many women around me who are getting pregnant. I decided to go see someone who would look more into the trouble I’m having and help beyond eating nutrient dense foods and immediately making any and all changes to help fertility, like lunaception. I feel like we need to take a look inside and get a closer look at what needs to be changed. Hopefully, we can get this righted sooner than later. Thanks for this post! God bless!

  2. I’ve been hearing about the toxicity of synthetic B’s and so we switched B supplements to Garden Of Life. Their “folic acid” is the whole food form: folate. My husband can tell a big difference…

  3. I had my Vitamin D tested a year ago. It was 16. I started taking 50,000 IU a day and it went up to 40 after one week. I am not a huge fan of supplements. I prefer to get vitamins and minerals from foods, of course. I also have thyroid issues, and my iron is low. I am trying to figure it all out, but it is hard. Doctors don’t exactly get it. I’ve had to do a lot of research so I can get my body back. I am still working on it. I take herbs for my kidneys and liver, iodine and companion nutrients for my thyroid, and something for my adrenals. I just ordered a thyroid supplement to help that a bit more as well, and will probably have to take something for my iron levels. Some days I feel pretty overwhelmed!

    donielle Reply:

    @Laura, Yes – overwhelmed is a good word for it! How are your vitamin D levels now? I’m trying to figure out how long I need to supplement (may get more testing done in another month or so), but I’m wondering if once you got it up, if you were able to maintain it or if you need to continue to supplement.

    Laura Reply:

    @donielle, I haven’t had my levels tested again. I have read that your body doesn’t store vitamin D from a supplement the way it does when it converts it from the sun, so you would need to continue taking it. I plan to take it at least during the winter every year. We live in Vegas, so I’m hoping I can get enough in the summer, but I do worry that if the thyroid isn’t functioning properly my body probably isn’t converting vitamin D properly either- since low thyroid and low vit D seem to go hand in hand. I found this article about vitamin D and I use the Bio Tech D3-50 he mentions, because I wanted to be sure I got one that would actually work. If you are getting sick at all (cold and flu) you probably need vitamin D.

    donielle Reply:

    @Laura, Thanks for the info and article – I’ll look into it a bit more. I’m figuring I’ll have to supplement until summer and I may get tested again a couple more times later this year to make sure I keep my levels up/see what may cause them to fall.

  4. Very excited to hear more! After visiting a doctor for infertility, the only issue in my blood work was a D deficiency, which the doctor felt was unrelated and inconclusive. I’m new to the whole foods approach and wanted to see if raising that would help, at least with the exhaustion I’ve been feeling. So far I’ve just been taking a supplements and would like to see any advice you may have upcoming.

  5. I am also low in Vit D and my hematocrit and hemoglobin are low. I have been SO fatigued lately and I am guessing it is because I haven’t been taking supplements since I am not sure what are good supplements to take! I hope you do a follow up post on this one! Also, when you had your Vit D checked did they wrap the vial in tin foil, or darken it somehow? They are finding that if the vials are not covered the reading is higher than it should be.

  6. I’m pretty sure I’ve struggled with vit D deficiency for a long time, too. My second (of two) children had an IUGR diagnosis — which seems to be linked.

    However, the road back to health has been very confusing. I can tell vit D, magnesium, and calcium are all closely linked. How to get all three to balance together has been a real challenge, and I finally decided I can’t get the exact science right, but I can at least take all three supplements and hope for the best.

    I do have to put a plug in for magnesium oil. I learned how to make it on cheeseslave’s blog, and when I spray it all over me, I itch like crazy but sleep like a baby, instead of waking up around 5 and not being able to get back to sleep.

    We’re more than halfway through my third (lasting) pregnancy, and hoping that all my supplements have been helping. We should know soon — with an IUGR baby, growth is normal but slows around 28 or 32 weeks.

    Hang in there, Donielle! It sounds like you are doing ALL the right things — the most important of which is just listening to your body. :)

  7. Your symptoms sound really really hypothyroid related. A full range of thyroid blood tests (def not just a TSH test) is needed and get it treated quickly. I’ve had hypothyroidism since I was 23 (now 37) and the last 6 years have involved that extreme fatigue issue. Often goes along with vitamin deficiencies. I’ve fixed my Vit d levels and try to get some sun every day. Thyroid problems can lead to miscarriages and infertility too. I really hope you don’t end up where I am but you sound SO thyroidish!

    donielle Reply:

    @Rebecca, Yes, I mentioned that I’m also slightly hypothyroid. Conventional docs may not consider it as I’m just on the low end of their scale, but my DO wants it higher and my ND said it was definitely weak last year. So now I’m taking steps to make sure it doesn’t progress and raise my numbers!

    Rebecca Reply:

    The pathology scale for throid tests was changed but many doctors don’t follow the new protocol. I’m only vaguely close to functioning if my TSh is below 1 and my free T3 and free T4 are both (or at least the T3) above the normal range. Hope you feel better soon, fatigue is not real fun!

  8. I was SEVERELY deficient in Vitamin D. When my doctor checked initially, I think I had a level of 8! He said he had never seen a living person with a lower Vitamin D level before and this was about two years ago. I am just now getting up to around where you are and I have to take 6000 IU’s a day.

  9. How long after taking the supplements did anyone start to experience some changes in energy levels. I really need to give myself something to look forward to here. I’ve suffered from this before and had been feeling great for so long recently that I had started to miss one supplement and then another until I was not taking anything. Recently my enthusiasm for things had started to slip away, I started to sleep longer (9 to 10 hours) struggling to get out of bed. I got what I think was a cold, or could it be allergies, its dragged dragged on for a month now. My period started to get wackier & wackier until the last 2 1/2 months its just been total spotting and not knowing when they will start. I’m figuring only now, that must have been the start. I’m in total brain fog and this past week has been a depression nightmare. Can’t believe I let this slip so far. I’ve pulled out all my supplements and just need someone to help me see the light at the end of whats looking today like a long dark tunnel.

    Donielle Reply:

    @Johanna, I think it really depends on what the deficiency is. For me, it took about a week before I was sleeping a lot better and a few weeks before I came out of the “fog”. It’s been a couple of months now and I do have a lot more energy, but I also still have days where it’s tough and I crash.
    I’m so sorry you’re struggling! praying you find a way to get back to normal again.