If you avoid sun exposure, suffer from milk allergies, or stick to a vegetarian vegan diet, you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Known as a sunburn vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sun-exposed skin. It occurs naturally in a few foods – including fish, fish liver oil, egg yolks, and dairy products and grains.
Vitamin D is important for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium in food. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency is associated with malnutrition, a disease in which bone tissue is poorly performing minerals, leading to soft bones and bone loss. But more and more, research has revealed the importance of vitamin D in preventing many health problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness may indicate a deficiency of vitamin D. However, for most people, the symptoms are subtle.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency,
Illness or Infection Often
One of the most important functions of vitamin D is to keep your immune system strong so that you can fight off germs and germs that cause illness. It is in direct contact with cells that fight infection.
If you often get sick, especially with colds or flu, low levels of vitamin D can affect you. Numerous large-scale observational studies have shown an association between deficiency and respiratory infections such as colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Numerous studies have found that taking vitamin D supplements at a dose of up to 4,000 IU daily can reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
In another study of people with chronic COPD lung disease, only those who were low in vitamin D saw a significant benefit after taking a high-dose supplement for one year.
Tiredness and Fatigue
Feeling tired can have many causes, and vitamin D deficiency can be one of them. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked as a possible reason. Case studies have shown that very low blood levels can cause fatigue that harms the quality of life.
In another case, a woman who complained of chronic daytime fatigue and headaches was found to have only vitamin D blood of 5.9 ng/ml. This is extremely low, as anything below 20 ng/ml is considered deficient.
When the woman took a vitamin D supplement, her level rose to 39 ng/ml and her symptoms resolved. However, even very low blood pressure can harm your energy levels.
A large observational study looked at the relationship between vitamin D and fatigue in young women. Studies have found that women with blood levels below 20 ng/ml or 21-29 ng/ml are more likely to complain of fatigue than those with blood levels above 30 ng/ml.
Other studies looking at female nurses have found a strong link between low vitamin D levels and independent fatigue. Also, researchers found that 89% of nurses were in need.
Bone and Back Pain
Vitamin D helps maintain bone health in many ways. For one thing, it improves your body’s absorption of calcium. Bone pain and low back pain can be symptoms of high levels of vitamin D in the blood.
Major experimental studies have found an association between deficiency and chronic back pain. One study examined the association between vitamin D levels and back pain in over 9,000 older women.
Researchers found that those with deficiency were more likely to experience back pain, including severe back pain that limited their daily activities.
In another controlled study, people with vitamin D deficiency were almost twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs, or joints compared with those with normal blood levels.
Depression can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. In a review of studies, researchers linked vitamin D deficiency to depression, especially in older adults. In another study, 65% of experimental studies found a link between low blood pressure and depression.
On the other hand, many controlled trials, which carry more weight in science than observational studies, did not show a link between the two.
However, researchers who analyzed these studies found that vitamin D doses in controlled subjects were always very low. Also, they realized that some of the studies may not have lasted long enough to see the effect of taking supplements on mood.
Other controlled studies have shown that giving vitamin D to people with stress helps to improve stress, including stress that occurs during the seasons during the colder months.
Healing Wound Injuries
Slow healing of wounds after surgery or injury can be a sign that your vitamin D levels are very low. The results of the test-tube study suggest that the vitamin increases the production of essential chemicals in building new skin as part of the wound healing process.
One study of dental surgeons found that certain aspects of healing were affected by a deficiency of vitamin D. It was also suggested that the role of vitamin D in controlling inflammation and fighting infection was important for proper treatment.
Some studies have looked at patients with diabetic foot disease. It has been found that those with severe vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have high levels of inflammatory symptoms that could jeopardize healing.
Unfortunately, there is very little research on the effects of vitamin D supplementation in wound treatment in people with this problem.
However, one study found that when patients who were not on vitamin D were treated with vitamin, the size of the wound was reduced by 28%, on average.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in the absorption of calcium and relaxation. Many older people who are diagnosed with osteoporosis believe that they need to take in more calcium. However, they may not have vitamin D at all.
Low bone mineral density is an indication that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals. This puts older adults, especially women, at risk of cracking.
In a large experimental study of more than 1,100 women aged between menopause or postmenopause, researchers found a strong link between low vitamin D levels and bone mineral density.
However, controlled studies have found that women who do not have vitamin D are less likely to improve bone mineral density when taking high-dose ingredients, even if their blood levels have improved.
Apart from these findings, a diet rich in vitamin D and keeping blood levels in the right range can be a good way to prevent bone mass and reduce the risk of fractures.
Hair loss is usually caused by stress, which is a common cause. However, when hair loss is severe, it can be the result of disease or a lack of nutrients.
Women’s hair loss has been linked to low levels of vitamin D, although very little research has been done so far.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss on the head and other parts of the body. It is associated with the market, which is a disease that causes soft bones in children due to vitamin D deficiency.
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to alopecia areata and can be a risk factor for developing the disease.
One study in people with alopecia areata has shown that low levels of vitamin D in the blood tend to be associated with more severe hair loss.
In a case study, topical use of a form of vitamin supplementation was found to be effective in treating hair loss in a young boy with a vitamin D receptor deficiency.
Too much food and nutrients can affect the health of your hair. If you experience hair loss, you may be interested in 14 of the best hair growth tips.
The causes of muscle pain are often difficult to pinpoint. There is some evidence that vitamin D deficiency can be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults. In another study, 71% of people with chronic pain were found to be empty. The vitamin D receptor is found in nerve cells called nociceptors, which are sensitive to pain.
One study in mice showed that deficiency led to pain and sensitivity due to stimulation of nociceptors in the muscles. A few studies have found that taking supplements with high doses of vitamin D can reduce various types of pain in people with the condition.
One study of 120 children with vitamin D deficiency who experienced growing pain found that a single dose of vitamin reduced pain relief by an average of 57%.
What is the deficit?
Serum Vitamin D blood test results show the following:
- Too much and possibly harmful: 125 nmol/L or more
- Adequate: 50–125 nmol/L
- At the risk of insufficiency: 30-49 nmol/L
- At the risk of the deficit: 30 nmol/L or less
Efficacy of vitamin D
Vitamin D has many important functions, including:
- Supports bone health by enabling calcium absorption
- Promoting muscle health
- Modulation of the immune system
- Increases cell growth
- Reduces inflammation, which helps prevent diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis
- Blood pressure control and cardiovascular health support
Low in vitamin D and diabetes
Some experts suggest that vitamin D may help prevent type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D levels have increased in those who have taken supplements. However, taking supplements has not been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a variety of reasons:
You should not consume the recommended levels of vitamins over time
If you follow a strict vegetarian diet, likely, the natural sources are mostly animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk, and beef liver.
Limit your exposure to sunlight
Since your skin is exposed to sunlight, your body produces vitamin D. If you travel, live in northern latitudes, wear long clothes or headscarves for religious reasons, or have a job that prevents you from exposure to the sun.
You have dark skin
The pigment melanin reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D in response to sunlight. Some studies have shown that older adults with older skin have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Your kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form
As people age, their kidneys are less able to convert to an active form of vitamin D, thus increasing the risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Your digestive system cannot absorb enough vitamin D
Several treatment-related problems, including Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can affect your gut’s ability to absorb vitamin D from your diet.
You are obese
Vitamin D is excreted from the blood by fat cells and changes in blood circulation. People with a body mass index of 30 or older often have low blood levels of vitamin D.
Test for vitamin D deficiency
The most accurate way to measure the amount of vitamin D in your body is a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. Levels of 20 nanograms/ml to 50 ng/ml are considered sufficient for healthy people. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates a vitamin D deficiency.
Treatment for vitamin D deficiency
Treatment for vitamin D deficiency involves getting more vitamin D through diet and supplements. Although there is no sensation about the level of vitamin D required for optimal health and it may vary depending on age and health condition, concentrations of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter are generally considered inadequate, requiring treatment.
The Institute of Medicine guidelines have increased the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D for everyone aged 1-70 to more than 600 international units (IU) to 800 IU to optimize bone health for those over 70 years of age. The safe upper limit was also set at 4,000 IU. Doctors can prescribe more than 4,000 IUs to correct vitamin D deficiency.
If you do not spend much time in the sun or are always careful to cover your skin (sunscreen prevents the production of vitamin D) you should talk to your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements, especially if you have a risk factor for vitamin D deficiency.
Various factors can increase the risk of the deficit,
People who do not eat enough vitamin D-rich foods, including foul-smelling dairy foods and cereals, may have low levels of vitamin D.
Some people spend very little time outside of work, due to ill health, lack of space outside their surroundings, or other reasons. These people have less chance of exposing their skin to sunlight. People who wear clothes that cover their whole body, whether it is protected from the sun or for cultural or religious reasons, may also be at higher risk of deficiency.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) recommends that people who use lots of sunscreens or wear clothing that covers the body should include vitamin D sources in their diet.
People living in some parts of the world – northern Canada and Alaska – for example, have very little access to the sun’s UVB rays, especially in winter. People living in hot climates can also be at risk, as they often stay indoors trying to avoid heat and strong sunlight.
Air particles can block UVB rays and prevent them from reaching the skin. People living in highly polluted areas are also more likely to spend time outside.
The effects of Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and other conditions affect how the intestines absorb nutrients, including vitamin D.
Some drugs reduce the body’s ability to absorb or synthesize vitamin D, including steroids and some drugs to lower cholesterol, among others.
The level of deficiency is higher among smokers. Some experts suggest that smoking may affect genes that activate vitamin D-3 production in the body.
Studies have found low levels of vitamin D or a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more in obese people. This link can stem from the way body fat affects vitamin D absorption. Obesity can cause some people to spend less time outside due to mobility problems. Those who have had bariatric surgery may also have problems with absorption. In contrast, those with a BMI of 25-29.99 classified as overweight seem to have a lower risk of deficiency than those who are not overweight. Lower authors suggest that dietary factors are responsible for this difference.
People with darker skin need more sunlight to produce vitamin D than light skin. People with a history of pale skin or skin cancer can avoid exposure to the sun to protect themselves from skin damage.
The ability to convert vitamin D to calcitriol may decrease with age due to decreased kidney function. As a result, calcium absorption will be reduced.
Kidney and liver health
People with liver disease and kidney disease have lower levels of vitamin D. These diseases can affect the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D or convert it into an active form.
Vitamin D requirements may increase during pregnancy, but experts are still unsure whether supplements are a good idea. The authors of the 2019 Cochrane review concluded that supplemental intake during pregnancy may reduce the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight, and severe postpartum hemorrhage. However, it can also increase the risk of premature birth, which occurs before 37 weeks. The authors call for more research.
Human milk is low in vitamin D, which means that breastfeeding babies are at risk of deficiency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends giving vitamin D supplements to all breastfed babies from the first few days of life until they drink 1 L or more of formula milk per day. Because vitamin D is added to formula milk, supplements become unnecessary.
Food source of vitamin D
Good dietary sources of vitamin D include:
- Oily fish such as mackerel or salmon
- Beef liver
- Egg yolk
Strong foods including some breakfast cereals, orange juice, milk, soy drinks, and margarine
Exposure to natural sunlight
Spending outdoors can increase vitamin D levels for short periods of time.
Sunlight is important for increasing vitamin D, but inappropriate sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.
For safe exposure to sunlight, a person should spend a short time every day without sunscreen and in contact with the sun with their nostrils, hands, or lower legs.
When to do it and for how long of the year, will depend on geographical location and other factors. People should ask their doctor about safe ways to increase sun exposure, especially if they have fair skin or conditions that affect the skin, such as psoriasis.
The best way to prevent vitamin D deficiency is to eat these nutritious foods and spend some time outside each day.
Here are some suggestions on how to look or get an appointment for hair extensions:
Maintaining a healthy body weight: Cycling or jogging can provide both exercise and exposure to sunlight.
Treatment of treatment conditions: People with health conditions that affect nutrient absorption find that treatment of the underlying condition helps them increase their levels of certain nutrients, including vitamin D.
Being proactive about preventive health: People with a family history of osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency may want to talk to their doctor about screening.
What are the symptoms of low vitamin D?
1. Fatigue or tiredness. 2. Bone pain. 3. Joint pain. 4. Muscle pain. 5. Sour mood. 6. Low energy. 7. More frequent illness. 8. Anxiety.
Is Vitamin D Deficiency serious?
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures (broken bones). Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets. Rickets is a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend.
What causes vitamin D to drop?
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons: You don't consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if you follow a strict vegan diet, because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk, and beef liver.
Does vitamin D affect sleep?
Research links vitamin D levels to sleep quality. In fact, several studies associate low levels of vitamin D in your blood with a higher risk of sleep disturbances, poorer sleep quality, and reduced sleep duration.
How long does it take to correct a vitamin D deficiency?
Simply adding an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement can make improvements in just three to four months' time. Vitamin D with a strength of 2000 international units daily is the recommended dose for most adults.
Does low vitamin D cause weight gain?
A vitamin D deficiency is unlikely to cause weight gain. However, it may cause other health problems or unpleasant symptoms, which are worth avoiding. You can maintain adequate vitamin D levels through a combination of limited sun exposure, a vitamin-D-rich diet, and taking vitamin D supplements.
What happens if vitamin D deficiency is not treated?
If left untreated over time, vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious bone disorders. For example, severe and long-term vitamin D deficiency may result in rickets or osteomalacia.
Does low vitamin D cause anxiety?
Higher levels of anxiety, depression, and internalizing problems but not atypicality were associated with lower levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D insufficiency may relate to higher levels of anxiety and depression, in turn contributing to the elevated risk of psychosis in this population.
Can thyroid problems cause vitamin D deficiency?
Some, but not all, observational studies have found low blood levels of vitamin D in patients with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) as well as hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) due to Gravesʼ disease.
What is the best treatment for vitamin D deficiency?
In persons with vitamin D deficiency, treatment may include oral ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) at 50,000 IU per week for eight weeks. After vitamin D levels normalize, experts recommend maintenance dosages of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) at 800 to 1,000 IU per day from dietary and supplemental sources.