Deficiency in vitamin D has become an increasing problem in recent years.
Amongst other things, vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and bone growth, obviously important for your teeth and your skeleton. It’s actually one of the vitamins that most humans often don’t get enough of.
Of course, sometimes it can be difficult to determine when you’re lacking in vitamin D. That said, a deficiency in vitamin D can actually lead to a number of more serious health issues and conditions.
Therefore, it’s important to know what symptoms can develop when your body hasn’t had enough of it.
Here are 13 warning signs that will help to tell you if you need more of this important vitamin.
What is vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in many areas around the world. Age, skin pigmentation, disease and nutrition all play a role when we talk about a lack of vitamin D.
If you spend a lot of time indoors you may be more susceptible, because the sun’s UV rays are the most efficient and readily available source of vitamin D we have. The body itself cannot produce it; instead, it is made when we’re exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D can be stored in fat cells for a number of months. However, in parts of the world where winters are long, our vitamin D reserves can run out before months offering regular exposure to sunlight come back around. According to sources, vitamin D can be stored in the body for around three months, but this can vary slightly from person to person.
12 signs you may need more vitamin D
1. Muscle weakness
Vitamin D is needed for a well-functioning immune system. Vitamin D deficiency can cause pain, muscle weakness and even cognitive impairment, according to researchers.
Good levels of vitamin D in the body can also counteract soreness after exercise and allow muscles to recover faster, as per studies from Newcastle University.
2. Aches in your bones
In a study of 150 patients with persistent bone pain, 93% of the group were found to have low vitamin D levels.
Mild vitamin D deficiency can lead to slight discomfort, but severe cases can mean that muscle fibers don’t work properly. This can lead to pain in the lower thigh and pelvis.
3. Respiratory problems
Studies show that vitamin D can help protect the respiratory system against diseases and infections. This is especially true in children.
If your child is severely asthmatic you should increase his or her vitamin D intake. By regularly giving them vitamin D supplements, you can reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks by up to 50%, a new study has shown.
4. Hot flushes
Is your forehead glistening with sweat for no reason? Do you feel very hot, even if it’s cool inside the room? It may be an early indicator of vitamin D deficiency, says Michael Holick of the Boston University Medical Center.
Historically, doctors have asked mothers if newborn babies have more sweat than usual on their heads. It’s been used as a good way of telling a child is suffering from a lack of vitamin D.
Several studies have shown that vitamin D may have a major influence on your mood, especially with regards to depression. Women with low levels of vitamin D run twice as much risk of becoming depressed when compared with others, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Take for example this Finnish study. People with high vitamin D levels had a 35% lower risk of depression.
That said, debates continue to rage concerning the link between vitamin D and depression. More research is yet needed.
Vitamin D is believed to play a part in the fertility of women. Australian research from 2008 showed that men’s fertility can also be impacted.
It’s also thought to be easier to conceive by artificial insemination if you have good levels of vitamin D.
7. Chronic headaches
Are you a middle-aged man who suffers from regular headaches? Apparently, vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of chronic headaches.
Research from a university in Finland, undertaken between 1984 and 1989, examined 2,600 men aged between 42-60 years.
68% of the men were found to be lacking in vitamin D, and those with the lowest levels were twice as likely to suffer from chronic headaches than their higher level counterparts.
8. Skin problems
Studies have shown that high doses of vitamin D can help fight skin afflictions such as psoriasis and vitiligo.
In a 2013 pilot study, 16 vitiligo patients and nine psoriasis sufferers drastically upped their vitamin D intake.
The results showed a clear improvement on all fronts, according to Greenmedinfo.
9. Hair loss
Do you suffer from hair loss? It could be that you’re lacking the correct amount of vitamin D.
In a study published by Skin Pharmacology, researchers surveyed 80 women aged between 18 and 45 who had experienced hair loss. The results conveyed a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and the issue at hand.
Tired and fatigued? Many people with vitamin D deficiency experience these symptoms daily without fully knowing why.
Vitamin D is one of the vitamins the body requires to create energy. Without it, you can feel tired for large parts of the day.
11. High blood pressure
There is a direct correlation to be found between the amount of vitamin D in the blood and the risk of high blood pressure. In a study from the University of South Australia, researchers found that there was a clear link between the amount of vitamin D and the participants’ blood pressure.
The conclusion? The more vitamins, the lower the blood pressure.
12. Weak bones
When you approach your 30s, your body stops forming bone mass. Lack of vitamin D can accelerate the symptoms of fragility with your bones.
The relationship between vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis has long been known. If struggling with such problems, you should take additional supplements of calcium and vitamin D to ensure you have strong bones.
13. Mood swings
Vitamin D has a direct effect on the hormone serotonin, which, of course, regulates how you feel emotionally.
Are you often angry or easily irritated? It could be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. Studies from the University of Sheffield have shown that vitamin D can have positive effects on anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Foods high in vitamin D
So, you want to increase your intake of foods rich in vitamin D. No problem. Below are some simple examples of foods you can eat to help you on your journey.
- Egg yolk
- Fish (salmon, perch, pike, sardines)
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D supplements are especially recommended for the following groups:
- Children under two years of age
- Children over two years of age with dark hair
- Children who don’t go outdoors often
- Children who don’t eat fish
- Pregnant women who don’t eat foods rich in vitamin D or wear clothing covering the whole body
- Elderly people who might not spend much time outdoors
Has this information been helpful to you? If so, please share it on Facebook, so that all your friends can see if they’re missing vitamin D. If they are, they need to know how to get more of this important vitamin!