8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is a significant vitamin, which has powerful effects on several systems throughout your body. Vitamin D functions like a hormone, unlike other vitamins. Every single cell in the body has a receptor for it. Your body simply makes it from cholesterol whenever your skin is exposed to sunlight.
You can also find it in certain foods such as fortified dairy products and fatty fish.
The suggested daily intake that is RDI is normally around 400-800 IU. Many experts say you must get even more than that. Vitamin D deficiency is quite common. It is estimated that about 1 billion people all over the world have low levels of vitamins in their blood.
You must know a few risk factors that are common for vitamin D deficiency:
- Being elderly.
- Having dark skin.
- Being obese or overweight.
- Living far from the equator.
- Not eating dairy or fish.
- Always using sunscreen while stepping out.
- Staying indoors.
If you live near the equator and normally get frequent sun exposure, you are less likely to be deficient. It is because your skin produces enough vitamin D to simply satisfy your body’s needs. Most people do not easily realize that they are deficient as the symptoms are normally subtle. You might not identify them easily, not even if they have significant negative effects on your quality of life.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Here are 8 symptoms and signs of vitamin D deficiency that you must know:
- Getting Sick Often
Vitamin D plays an important role in keeping your immune system strong. It would make you able to fight off bacteria and viruses that cause illness. It directly relates to the cells, which are responsible for fighting infection. If you frequently become sick especially with flu or colds, know that low vitamin D levels might be a contributing factor in it. There is a link between a deficiency and your respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis, colds, and pneumonia.
Many observational studies have shown that taking vitamin D supplements daily might reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections. In one analysis, people with lung disorder and severe vitamin D deficiency experienced significant benefits after taking a high-dose supplement. Thus, vitamin D plays a very important role in proper immune function. You need to take care if you are falling ill very often.
- Tiredness and Fatigue
Feeling tired might have various causes and vitamin D deficiency might be one of them. It is often overlooked as a possible cause. Many studies have shown that low blood levels can normally cause fatigue, which has a severe negative effect on your quality of life. There was a case where a woman complained of daytime headaches and fatigue. It was found that her vitamin D blood level was only 5.9 ng/ml. it is extremely low as anything under 20ng/ml is considered to be deficient. Afterward, when the woman took vitamin D supplements, her level increased to 39 ng/ml. Her symptoms simply resolved this way.
However, blood levels which are not extremely low might have a very negative impact on your energy levels. You must never ignore such symptoms as they might cause severe health problems. An observational study has looked at the relationship between fatigue and vitamin D in young women. The study actually found that women with lower blood levels are more likely to complain of fatigue. It should not be lower than 20 ng/ml. Another study in female nurses identified a strong connection between self-reported fatigue and vitamin D levels. Around 89% of the nurses were found deficient by the researchers.
If you are facing excessive tiredness and fatigue, it can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. You can take supplements to improve the energy levels of your body. It is advisable to take the help of a doctor if supplements are not enough.
- Bone and Back Pain
Vitamin D helps in maintaining bone health in numerous ways. It improves the absorption of calcium in your body. Lower back pain and bone pain might be the symptoms of inadequate vitamin D levels in your blood. The observational studies have shown a direct relationship between chronic lower back pain and a deficiency. The researchers examined the connection between bank pain and vitamin D levels in more than 9,000 older women. It has been seen that those with a deficiency were very much likely to have severe back pain. It affects their daily activities and makes their life difficult.
In one study, vitamin D deficient were almost twice as likely to have the bone pain in their ribs, joints, or legs compared with those with normal blood levels in that age. So if you are having lower back pain and bone pain, it might be because of low blood levels of vitamin D.
- Impaired Wound Healing
Another sign of vitamin D deficiency is slow healing of wounds after injury or surgery. Results from a study advise that the vitamin increases the production of compounds. It is important to form a new skin as part of the process of wound healing. One study on people with dental surgery found that many aspects of healing were actually compromised by the deficiency of vitamin D. it has also been advised that vitamin D is crucial in fighting infection and controlling inflammation for proper healing.
One analysis observed in patients with diabetic foot infections. It was found that people with severe deficiency had higher levels of inflammatory markers which can simply jeopardize healing. Unfortunately, there is a little research about the effects of supplements for vitamin D on wound healing. However, one study has shown that when deficient patients with leg ulcers were cured with vitamin, the ulcer size reduced by 28% on average. Inadequate vitamin D levels might lead to poor wound healing, therefore it is important to proper vitamin D levels in your body.
A depressed and unhappy mood is one of the signs of vitamin D deficiency. In one study, researchers have seen a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and depression, especially in older adults. Here is a few analysis that shows the relationship between depression and vitamin D deficiency:
- In one analysis, 65% of the studies found a relationship between depression and low blood levels. On the other hand, many controlled trials that carry more scientific weight than the observational studies did not show any link between these two.
- The researchers who analyzed the observational studies noted that the dose of vitamin D in controlled studies were repeatedly very low. In addition, they noted that some of the studies might not have lasted long to see the effect of having supplements on mood.
- Other studies have found that simply giving vitamin D to those who are deficient supports improve depression. It also includes seasonal depression, which occurs during the colder months.
Depression is directly linked to low levels of vitamin D. Most of the studies have shown that supplementing improves mood.
- Bone Loss
Vitamin D is vital in bone metabolism and calcium absorption. Many older people who are spotted with bone loss trust they need to take enough calcium. However, they might be vitamin D deficient as well. Low bone mineral density is a sign that your bones have lost other minerals and calcium. It places older adults, particularly women, with an increased risk of fractures. In one analysis, more than 1,100 middle-aged women in postmenopause or menopause, observers found a link between low bone mineral density and low vitamin D levels.
A controlled study has shown that females who have vitamin D deficiency experienced no improvement in their bone mineral density after the intake of high-dose supplements even if their blood levels improved. Regardless of these findings, sufficient intake of vitamin D and maintain blood levels might be a good strategy for reducing fracture risk and protecting bone mass.
Thus, a diagnosis of low bone mineral density might be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, getting proper for this vitamin is crucial for preserving bone mass as you become older.
- Hair Loss
Hair loss is frequently attributed to stress that is certainly a common cause. You must know that if hair loss is severe, it might be the result of a nutrient deficiency or a disease. Hair loss in females has been linked to low levels of vitamin D, however, there is very little research on this to date. Alopecia areata is a disease characterized by extreme hair loss from the head and even other parts of the body. It is related with rickets that is a disease, which causes soft bones in kids due to vitamin D deficiency.
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to alopecia areata. It might be a risk factor for developing this disease. One study with alopecia areata has shown that lower blood levels of vitamin D tended to be linked with more severe hair loss. In a study, proper application of a synthetic form of the vitamin was successfully found to treat hair loss in a young boy. He was deficient in vitamin D receptor.
Many other nutrients and foods might affect the health of your hair. You must know about the best foods for hair growth if you experience hair loss.
- Muscle Pain
The reasons for muscle pain are difficult to pinpoint. The deficiency of vitamin D can be a possible cause of muscle pain in adults and children. In one study, 71% of people with severe pain were found to be deficient. The vitamin D receptor is found in nerve cells called nociceptors that sense pain. One study in rats has shown that a deficiency led to sensitivity and pain due to stimulation of nociceptors in muscles. A few other studies have noted that taking high dosage vitamin D supplements might reduce many types of pain in deficient people.
One study in 120 vitamin D deficient children found that a single dose of the vitamin actually reduced pain by an average 57%. It has proved that there is a direct link between low blood levels of vitamin D levels and chronic pain. It might be due to the interaction between pain-sensing nerve cells and vitamin.
The Bottom Line
The deficiency of vitamin D is very common and many people are unaware of it. It is because the signs are often non-specific and subtle. It means that it is difficult to know if they are caused by low levels of vitamin D or something else. If you think you have a deficiency, it is very important for you to speak to your doctor. You have to get your blood levels measured on time.
Fortunately, a vitamin D deficiency is normally easy to fix. You can either eat more vitamin D foods such as dairy products or fatty fish, increase your sun exposure, or simply take a supplement. Fixing your vitamin D deficiency is easy, simple, and can have many benefits for your health.