Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is crucial for our health. The vitamin has powerful effects on several systems throughout our body. It boosts immunity, prompts cell growth, keeps the bones robust and the skin healthy, and even helps create new hair follicles. We primarily absorb vitamin D through sun exposure but it can also be taken through dietary supplements and by eating certain foods, like fatty fish. That being said, getting enough of this vitamin is difficult from food products alone. Fortunately, a variety of vitamin D supplements can help you in that regard.
Today, vitamin D deficiency has become very common across all age groups. It's estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood.
Some of the common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are:
* Staying mostly indoors.
* Not eating enough fish or dairy.
* Being overweight or obese.
* Living in a region where there is little sun year-round.
* Being elderly.
* Using sunscreen regularly when going out.
Getting sufficient vitamin D isn’t always easy during the fall and winter months and since these seasons are right around the corner, it would be prudent to ensure you have enough of it. The curious thing is that most people don’t even realize that they are lacking vitamin D in their bodies since the symptoms are generally quite subtle. Be warned, though, that insufficient vitamin D can have a substantial negative effect on your quality of life.
Hence, today we will look at some of the most important signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency that you should be aware of.
See Also: How Vitamin D Affects Your Teeth
1. Fatigue and tiredness
Feeling regularly tired in your hectic life can be a result of numerous factors and a vitamin D deficiency may be one of them. Various case studies have revealed that very low blood levels can cause fatigue and severely impede the quality of one’s life. Another observational study in female nurses demonstrated a clear connection between low vitamin D levels and self-reported fatigue.
In a few reported cases, people who complained of chronic daytime fatigue and headaches were found to have a vitamin D blood level of only 5.9 ng/ml. Anything under 20 ng/ml is usually considered deficient.
Taking vitamin D supplements usually helps improve energy levels. Hence, if you find yourself being regularly tired and fatigued, it would be a good idea to see a doctor and get your vitamin D levels checked.
2. Getting sick or infected regularly
Do you find yourself being constantly sick or infected with some viral illness? This may well be due to a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping our immune system strong to enable it to fight off viruses and bacteria that cause illness. It also collaborates with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection. Thus, low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor in you often getting sick.
Some observational studies have shown a connection between deficiency and respiratory tract infections like colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Another study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research states that vitamin D has a direct connection to how your immune system reacts to different infections and viruses.
3. Back pain
Many of us experience bouts of back pain from time to time and that’s quite common. However, if back pain, particularly lower back pain, has become a regular feature of your life then it may be a warning sign of low vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D helps in maintaining bone health by improving our body's absorption of calcium. Several studies over the years have found a link between a deficiency and chronic lower back pain. A 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society revealed that lower concentrations of vitamin D were connected to significant back pain in women.
Researchers have now observed that people with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have back pain, including severe back pain, along with bone pain in their legs, ribs, or joints.
4. Muscle pain or weakness
According to the Cleveland Clinic, you are not getting adequate vitamin D if your muscles regularly feel weaker or are cramping more than usual. Studies have found a link between chronic pain and low blood levels of vitamin D. This may be because of the interaction between the vitamin and pain-sensing nerve cells.
Furthermore, muscle pain or weakness for kids who are vitamin D deficient is a real matter of concern as low levels can lead to rickets - the softening and weakening of bones – which can be pretty painful and dangerous, especially for children.
5. Hair loss
It is not uncommon for us to lose hair as we age. However, research shows that a lack of vitamin D in your body can lead to hair loss. Vitamin D plays a role in stimulating new and old hair follicles and when you don’t have enough of it, new hair growth can be hindered.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to alopecia, the skin condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches. Another study published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology revealed that women with hair loss had lower levels of vitamin D.
6. Slow-healing wounds
Slow-healing or impaired wounds may be a sign that your vitamin D levels are too low. Research has shown that the important vitamin increases the production of compounds that are vital in the formation of new skin for the wound-healing process. Furthermore, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Dental Research proved that vitamin D levels are important to post-surgical healing. It has also been noted that vitamin D plays a part in controlling inflammation and fighting infection for proper healing.
See Also: Learn All You Need to Know About Absorbing Solar Vitamin D
7. Bone loss and discomfort
Vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Hence, low bone density might be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, and getting sufficient vitamin D is essential for preserving bone mass as you get older.
Additionally, a study published in the journal American Family Physician states that any aches and painful tenderness in your bones could be directly related to a lack of vitamin D in the body. Take special note if you feel pain or uneasiness when you put pressure over your breastbone or shinbone areas, experts warn.
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