Vitamin D is an essential nutrient the body needs to promote calcium absorption, and its deficiency can lead to various health problems. Vitamin D deficiency can also majorly impact mental health, as low levels are associated with depression and other mood disorders. Here are 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency that can signal that something’s wrong in your body. Let’s also see what causes it and where we can get vitamin D to complement our health.
Get vitamin D from food
Five foods naturally high in vitamin D:
- Fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel
- Canned fish like herring and sardines
- Egg yolks
- Beef liver
- Fish liver
Five vitamin D-fortified foods:
- Breakfast cereals
- Almond milk
- Soy milk
- Orange juice
Since there aren’t many naturally occurring vitamin D foods, many products are enriched with vitamin D. Always check the nutrition label to ensure there’s added vitamin D.
Get vitamin D from sunlight
When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun, your body creates vitamin D.
Make time daily to get out in the sun. If you don’t have classes, work, or commitments scheduled that require you to go outside for the day, set aside a few minutes to take a quick walk, even if it’s just around your residence hall or the block. Remember to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy, gloomy days.
If you don’t get regular sunlight, you may need to increase your dietary intake or take a vitamin D supplement.
Take a vitamin D supplement
Most people should be taking a vitamin D supplement, Wallingford says.
Vitamin D has two main forms: D2 and D3. You can absorb both types in your body. Still, studies have shown that vitamin D3 raises your levels more effectively than vitamin D2. For this reason, Wallingford recommends over-the-counter supplements that contain vitamin D3 or taking a cod liver oil supplement. Vitamin D3 supplements can be purchased at the University Health Center pharmacy.
The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D for young adults is 600 international units. A doctor may prescribe a prescription-strength dose of vitamin D if your levels are severely low.
Are vitamin D supplements safe?
Yes. A vitamin D supplement doesn’t cause many adverse effects at recommended doses. What you don’t use, your body usually urinates out, so it’s difficult to overdose on vitamin D unless you are taking massive doses.
Extremely high vitamin D levels are harmful and can cause nausea, vomiting, confusion, excessive thirst, and kidney stones. Vitamin D supplements can interact with certain medications, so check with your doctor before starting one.
Who is more at risk for vitamin D deficiency?
People with darker skin are much better protected from UV rays but also need to spend more time in the sun than people with lighter skin to produce the same amount of vitamin D. Non-Hispanic Black people generally have higher rates of vitamin D deficiency. The darker your skin, the less vitamin D you make from sunlight exposure. People who are obese, those with osteoporosis, and people with malabsorption disorders like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease are also at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
Signs of vitamin D deficiency
Here are 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency that you should be aware of:
Low vitamin D levels can cause feelings of tiredness and exhaustion that last for days or weeks without any obvious explanation.
Bone and Back Pain
Vitamin D is required for strong bones, so a deficiency in the body can easily lead to pain in the bones and back, particularly around the spine area.
Weak Immune System
A weakened immune system increases your risk for infection, making it harder for your body to fight off even minor illnesses like colds or flu viruses.
Loss of appetite can indicate your body isn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D.
Slow Healing Wounds
When an injury occurs, the cells need certain amounts of vitamin D to heal quickly and properly. Otherwise, wounds take longer than normal to heal, increasing the risk of infection and scarring.
Hair loss has been linked to deficiencies in several key nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin D; when hair follicles don’t receive enough nutrients, they become weak or die off entirely, leading to thinning or bald patches on the scalp.
Muscles depend on adequate amounts of vitamin D for strength and coordination; when levels are too low, this can cause widespread weakness throughout the body making even everyday activities difficult or painful to complete due to a lack of energy or support from tired muscles.
Low levels of this important nutrient may impair cognitive function leading to difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand or general feelings of forgetfulness that impact daily life duties such as work or school assignments requiring focus and concentration.
Research suggests those deficient in this nutrient are more prone to mood swings that range from feeling overly emotional one moment to detachment from social interactions in another due to stress hormones flooding into their system regularly throughout each day, affecting their ability to function effectively.
A weakened immune system caused by decreased amounts of vitamin D makes it more likely for you to catch common illnesses like colds or flu more often than usual, on top of chronic diseases taking longer time than normal period to get back into balance if not treated immediately with proper supplements prescribed by a healthcare practitioner.
Unexplained Weight Changes
Unexpected weight changes can occur due to inflammation caused by insufficient growth at a cellular level, further weakening the victim during the recovery period from disease or trauma.
Studies show an association between having low levels of this key nutrient with increased rates of depression or anxiety, feeling burdened by society’s expectations having a generally negative outlook, world them increasing chances of developing these conditions later in life.
Stress hormones dispersed within the body, having an inadequate supply of essential nutrients wreak havoc person’s circadian rhythm causing difficulty staying asleep and episodes of restlessness through night morning drowsiness.
Impairment In Vision
Not considered a traditional symptom, but studies recently suggested a link between developing eye-related diseases and blindness experiencing a prolonged deficiency state compound named cholecalciferol.
These are just some examples; other symptoms include joint pain, headaches, nausea, dry mouth, and skin irritation, among others, but if any of these indicators are present, then consider consulting a doctor to determine whether supplementing diet is an appropriate measure to prevent long-term damage sure optimal functioning body daily basis.