Vitamin D, also called the “sunshine vitamin”, is naturally produced in your body with a bit of a mild sun exposure or can be consumed through certain foods and supplements. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3.
Vitamin D has a numerous role in your body. And the most vital are maintaining the health of your bones and teeth, supporting the health of your immune system, brain, and nervous system, regulating insulin levels, supporting lung function and cardiovascular health, as well as influencing the expression of genes responsible for cancer development.
It is so important that you get sufficient amount of vitamin D for normal growth and for the development of your body.1
Signs And Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency
If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing abnormalities in your body. Hard to believe? Here’s a list of the signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency that’ll make you think again.
1. Weak Immune System
The vitamin D helps regulates the normal functioning of genes and processes what your body needs to maintain its health. It is sent to different parts of the body. Immune cells (B cells, T cells, and antigen-presenting cells) have vitamin D receptors on them and are capable of synthesizing the active vitamin D. When there is a lack of vitamin D in your body, there are increased probabilities of autoimmune disorders and increased vulnerability to infection.
Optimizing the vitamin D levels in your body can help you prevent infections, autoimmune diseases, and more.2
2. Weak Muscles And Bones
Vitamin D helps controls the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in your body. Insufficient vitamin D levels in the blood can lead to a worse bone and back pain. As your bones weaken, you are more vulnerable to stress fractures, especially, in your legs, pelvis, and hips.
When you’re lacking in vitamin D this will increased the tiredness, a feeling of overall pain, and a sense of not feeling well. You might also experience a severe muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or an abnormal gait.
In 30% of people, muscle weakness is one of the earliest signs of vitamin D deficiency. At this stage, the condition is reversible and it can be easily treated with vitamin D and calcium supplementation.3
A study has shown that the lack of vitamin D in your body might lead to depression and anxiety. Vitamin D plays a very important role in regulating your mood and warding off depression. Vitamin D supplements are known to improve depression symptoms in many.4
Vitamin D is very important for a normal brain function, not only that, it also helps treat depression and other mental illnesses. Hence, vitamin D deficiency is responsible for depression in some people.
Always talk to your doctor if you think you have depression and find the right treatment.
4. Excessive Sweating
Of all vitamin D deficiency symptoms, there is one that stands out to be weird. In older times, doctors apparently used to ask new mothers if their heads were sweatier than normal. This was done to check for a lurking vitamin D deficiency.
If your child does have sweaty hands, there is a possibility that he has the sign of the most prominent and dangerous form of vitamin D deficiency in children – Rickets. It is found typically in children who are lacking in vitamin D, the symptoms of subclinical rickets include head sweating, hair tenderness, and legs giving out.5
5. Delay In Healing Ability
Vitamin D controls the genes that’s been promoting the making of antimicrobial compounds. These compounds are used by the immune system to fight off wound infections. your immune function can get compromised if you’re lacking in vitamin D, it makes you more vulnerable to potentially harmful bacteria and other foreign invaders.
To prove this point further, a comprehensive test was conducted. The test results showed that those who had ulcers on their legs had a vitamin D deficiency compared to participants with no wounds. Participants who were treated with vitamin D supplements saw a decrease in the size of the ulcer. On the other hand, those who weren’t administered such supplements saw no significant change.
As per, researchers concluded that patient who has wounds are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency, and that they tend to heal in a more effective way when they take up a specific measure to counter their deficiencies.6
Who Is At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency?
Not everyone can have a vitamin D deficiency. Though, there are a few common risk factors that points to the fact that you can have such a deficiency. These risk factors are:
- If you have a dark skin tone.
- If you’re aged 50 or older.
- If you’re overweight or obese.
- If you don’t include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet.
- If you’re living away from the equator where there is less sunlight year-round.
- If you prefer staying indoors most of the time.
How Can You Treat Vitamin D Deficiency?
Now that you know how important it is to have sufficient vitamin D, it is also important that you know what is the best way forward if your vitamin D levels do drop. Fortunately, a vitamin D deficiency is easy to treat. You can either increase your sunlight exposure or eat more vitamin D-rich foods.
In response to sunlight vitamin D forms in your skin, but you have to make sure to avoid burning or over-exposure to sunlight. You can also found vitamins D in foods such as fish, eggs, beef liver, cheese, dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.