Vitamin D is one of the four fat soluble vitamins essential for the body in order to function properly. Unlike other fat soluble or water soluble vitamins, vitamin D acts like a hormone in your body since it has receptors on every cell and organ. Vitamin D is formed inside the body from cholesterol after it has been exposed to the sun. The daily requirement of vitamin D is around 400-800 IU and it is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies. People who stay indoors a lot or live away from the equator are more likely to develop vitamin D deficiency. Not eating enough fish and dairy is a major cause as well.
The symptoms exhibited by a person with vitamin D deficiency are quite subtle at first to be noticed but they are definitely there if you pay close attention. Here are some of the symptoms that directly linked to Vitamin D deficiency;
Being sick and infected often
Vitamin D plays a vital role in keeping your immune system strong and functional which causes your body to be able to defend itself against invading microorganisms that can make you sick. It interacts with cells directly and increases their ability to defend themselves against bacteria and viruses.
Low levels of vitamin D are an important contributing factor if you find yourself getting sick often. Severe infections like bronchitis, pneumonia and influenza are also linked to people with low vitamin D levels in their body.
Supplements of vitamin D for around 1000-4000 IU daily as directed by the physician could help in increasing your immunity and also help you deal with pre-existing infections like any mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder that had vitamin D deficiency as a root cause.
Being tired and lethargic
Feeling tired after a long day of hard work is very normal but feeling tired all the time without having done any strenuous exercise or work exhibits signs of vitamin D deficiency.
Anything under 20 ng/ml of vitamin D in the blood is considered to be deficient and most women who have the deficiency will range from 4-10 ng/ml.
Day time tiredness and headaches should be a valid indicator for you to go and get yourself checked, even if your vitamin D levels in the blood are above 20 ng/ml but below 30 ng/ml, there’s still a reason for you to worry. Taking daily supplements of vitamin D will help reverse the effects of tiredness.
Luckily, if you’re too tired to visit the doctor, you can get cured with the help of telemedicine. This saves you time from going to the doctor and filling out forms. Telemedicine has saved many lives since patients don’t have to go through filling out several forms.
Pain in bones and lower/upper back
Vitamin D is crucial for bone health as it helps your body in improving its calcium absorption from the blood to the bone. Around 9000 women with chronic lower back pain were found to have lower vitamin D levels in the body. Since the lower back and lumbar region supports the framework of the body and helps maintain posture, not getting adequate vitamin D cause less calcium absorption from blood to the bone and hence makes it weak and cause pain.
A great way to attain vitamin D naturally is a gentle walk in the sun around noon when the sun is at 90 degrees. This will allow the most sunlight absorption into the skin and help convert cholesterol into vitamin D.
People with weak bones need to be extra careful. They can break their bones easily if they fall. Make sure medical help is always available nearby your house in case of any emergency.
Depression is a widely discussed topic that has many underlying causes, from chemical imbalances in the brain to environmental ones but scientists have found a link between depression and vitamin D deficiency. Most people especially older women go through a bad phase of mood swings and general depression. Doctors like to call it “seasonal depression” which is common during the winter where sun exposure is limited. Adding supplements into your daily diet will help regulate your mood.
Slow Wound Healing
Impaired wound healing after an injury or surgery are signs that vitamin D levels are dangerously low. This symptom only arises when the levels exceed beyond the mentioned low levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is crucial for substances like collagen that help make newer skin and help strengthen the skin barrier. The process of proper healing also involves anti-inflammatory actions which are not seen in patients with low vitamin D levels. Many patients with ulcers outside the body showed positive results when the vitamin D levels in their body were increased.
Patients diagnosed with bone loss or decreased bone mass believe that they only need to increase their calcium intake. This is not true. Calcium will only absorb in the body once the levels of vitamin D are adequate. Low bone density is a very serious indication that your body has lost its calcium reservoirs and further intake of calcium cannot help unless vitamin D is added to the diet to help the proper absorption and deposition of calcium back into the bones. This is more common in women who are menopausal or already in their post menopause stage.
Vitamin D will not only help give your bones their strength back but also make you less tired and protect your bones from getting fractured.
Muscular pain is a wide category that could have tons of causes but many of them have been traced back to vitamin D deficiency. It causes chronic muscle weakness aside from bone weakness and the correlation between calcium deficiency in bone and muscles is also related to vitamin D deficiency due to its important in muscle movement.
Anxiety and sleep disorders
Vitamin D deficiency has been known to cause problems in the body mostly concerning the brain. The deficiency leads to muscular spasms and anxiety. It also hinders in melatonin regulation that affects normal sleep wake cycle. Studies have shown that there have been signs of decreased vitamin D levels in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Though no clear cut, links were found that could relate the Vitamin deficiency with a brain disorder but patients exhibited signs of improvement when exposed to sunlight every day for a few minutes.
Get yourself checked for vitamin D deficiency today.
James Crook is a passionate health and fitness blogger. Currently, he is working with Centra Care –Urgent Care Leesburg facility. Follow @jamescrook911 for more updates.