Vitamin D deficiency is increasingly becoming a health problem that is affecting many people worldwide. In this article, I am going to discuss all about the deficiency of Vitamin D.
Things which I’ll cover are:
- A Brief Introduction
It is also known as the sunshine vitamin, it can be made by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. The reality is many people tend to forget the importance of Vitamin D and the role it plays in their overall wellbeing.
Deficiency in vitamin D in the body leads to the development of rickets. However, rickets is not the only health problem related to an insufficiency of vitamin D there are other health risks involved such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, cognitive disorders and even asthma in children.
According to a survey, almost 50% of the worldwide population has insufficiency of Vitamin D and this includes the people of all age groups. (1)
Vitamin D helps a lot in:
- improving the immune system
- increasing muscle health
- reduces inflammation
- helps in cell growth
- maintain blood pressure etc.
#Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Below mentioned are some of the causes:
1. Your diet
The diet you take should have sufficient amounts of vitamin D required by the body on daily basis.
People on a vegan diet are at a high risk of suffering from vitamin D deficiency since most of the foods taken are not sources of vitamin D or just contain small amounts of it.
Milk and dairy products are also good sources of vitamin D, those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance may also be at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency.
2. Insufficient exposure to sunlight
Due to the busy life, most of the people do not want to spend time in the sunlight that’s why there is little vitamin D being synthesized by the body.
Not only this…
…but there are also some limiting factors when it comes to getting vitamin D from the sun e.g during winter it may not be possible to benefit from the sunlight.
3. Health problems
Kidney and liver disorders may limit your body’s intake of vitamin D. A person with a kidney disease is at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency. This is because the kidneys convert the vitamin D in the body into its active form.
4. Pregnancy and breastfed infants
During pregnancy, women are at a risk of vitamin D deficiency since it is also needed by the fetus. If breast milk contains insufficient amounts of vitamin D then intents who are being nursed may suffer vitamin D deficiency.
The body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D decreases with age. Therefore the older you get the less vitamin D your body is able to produce.
6. Having a dark skin
A lot of melanin in the skin may reduce the ability of the skin to synthesize vitamin D. The people with dark skin are at a risk of suffering from vitamin D deficiency.
#Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
If you see the following symptoms then you must go for a treatment process.
1. Muscle pain and weakness
Muscle pain is often linked to low levels of vitamin D in the blood. This is because Vitamin D plays an important role in the proper functioning of the nerve cells which sense pain.
According to research done, those who suffered from muscle pain and were deficient in Vitamin D felt the pain reduce when they were given high doses of the vitamin D. (2)
There are several causes of depression similarly an insufficient amount of vitamin D in your body is one of the causes. This is most especially found in adults.
Studies carried out in the past years have linked depression to low levels of vitamin D. (3)
4. Pain in the bones and back pain
Vitamin D is vital in the development of strong and healthy bones. It boosts the body’s ability to absorb calcium which is another important mineral when it comes to maintaining bone health. This is why having a consistent bone and back pain is possibly a sign of the insufficient amount of vitamin D in the blood.
You may be having enough sleep and rest and still often feel tired. If you look at it carefully, you could find out that you are having vitamin D deficiency. Adequate vitamin D in the blood works to boost energy levels in the body and improve the quality of life.
6. Poor wound healing
Vitamin D is needed for proper healing of wounds. It works to prevent inflammation and protect the wound from infections facilitating quick and proper healing.
People with low levels of vitamin D in the blood tend to have slow healing of wounds after a surgery, infection or injury.
7. Bone loss
This is especially in elderly people who due to age have reduced production of Vitamin D. Since vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium by the body, its deficiency may be responsible for low bone mass.
Here I want to explain it with a live example from my family.
My Grandmother which is 80+ years old was suffering from a severe back pain. After the complete check up it was found that the pain is due to the loss of 2 bones from the backbone. After the consultation with a doctor, it was found that deficiency of Vitamin D has caused it.
8. Often getting sick
Vitamin D is important in the proper functioning of the immune system. When there is inadequate vitamin D in the body, your immune system is unable to fight against infections and viruses leaving you susceptible to illnesses. You may find yourself frequently falling ill even with common infections such as cold and flu.
9. Weight gain
Many people probably overlook this, but the reason you are gaining weight may be due to a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D gives the body the ability to burn fat rather than to store it. This means that low levels of it in the blood will ultimately result in more fat being stored leading to the weight gain.
10. Sweaty head
This is something to look out for since it is a prominent sign of vitamin D deficiency. Sweating is normal but it should be a cause for concern if you start sweating profusely especially on the head.
Along with visiting a doctor/physician, one must go for the following treatment options.
1. Vitamin D supplements
The only and best treatment for vitamin D deficiency is increasing vitamin D levels in the blood. One of the easy ways to do so is by taking supplements. You should visit a doctor to get the prescription of the right amount of vitamin D you need to take in the form of supplements.
2. Eat foods rich in vitamin D
Add foods that are rich sources of vitamin D in your diet. The best sources of vitamin D include:
- Egg Yolks
- Beef Liver
- Fish Liver Oils
- Fatty Fisch (Mackerel and Tuna)
Add more of these foods a part of your daily diet.
3. Spend more time out in the sun
Spending some time out in the sun may be a good way of helping your body synthesize vitamin D. As a matter of fact, people in areas that experience few seasons with sunshine have been attributed to suffer more from vitamin D deficiency. However, be careful not to spend too much time in the sun as it may cause harm to your skin like skin burn, tan etc.
4. Treat medical conditions
Health problems such as liver and kidney disorders may limit the production of vitamin D. Treatment of such conditions can greatly help reverse the condition.
5. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight puts you more at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency and that is why it is important that you maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise regularly to burn off those extra calories and fat. Also, maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Each and every mineral and Vitamin has its own importance, similarly, Vitamin D is also very important for the proper functioning of the body.
If you see the above-mentioned signs and symptoms instantly go to the doctor and start the treatment process. You can also take into consideration my treatment options.