Vitamin D Deficiency - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Vitamin D deficiency means you have a lower vitamin D level in your body as compared to an adequate level that is needed to function well. It is different from other vitamins because your body produces it from cholesterol, upon exposure to sunlight. Fair-skinned and young people convert cholesterol into vitamin D far better than those who are dark-skinned and above 50 years of age. If you are vitamin D deficient, you can incorporate a supplement to overcome its deficiency. 


How is Vitamin D Beneficial For You?


Vitamin D has many beneficial effects on your body. It plays a role in treating and preventing diseases like;


  • Multiple sclerosis Heart disease 

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure

  • Diabetes

  • Infections and immune system disorders

  • Fractures

  • Osteoporosis 

  • Depression 

  • Asthma 

  • Falls in older people

  • Colon cancer 

  • Prostate cancer 

  • Breast cancers.



Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency


The signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are;


Compromised immunity


When you have low vitamin D levels in your body, you become prone to infections as your immunity is compromised. Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D helps to build your immunity, hence preventing and fighting off infections. According to a study, a low level of vitamin D puts you at risk of catching respiratory tract infections like cold and flu. 


Fatigue and Tiredness


People having low vitamin D levels often complain about excessive fatigue and tiredness. You may even feel tired and lethargic in the daytime. Vitamin D helps in keeping you active and healthy. 


Bone and Back Pain


Vitamin D is essential for your bone health, not just because of its effects on your bones. But also because it helps in calcium absorption in your bones. Low levels of vitamin D can cause back pain. It can also be accompanied by rib pain, pain in the legs, and joint pain. 



Depression 


Vitamin D deficiency can cause depression, especially the season-associated depression that mostly happens in winter.  



Impaired Wound Healing 


According to a study, vitamin D increases compounds that are essential in the formation of the skin. Therefore its deficiency can lead to impaired wound healing. Also, it can compromise your immunity, so wound healing is affected. Its deficiency can also increase the inflammatory mediators that hinder wound healing. 



Bone Loss


Vitamin D plays a role in getting calcium absorbed in your bones. Even if you keep taking calcium and your diet is deficient in vitamin D, your bones would not get enough calcium. Therefore to keep your bones healthy, strong, and protected from fractures, you need to consume an adequate amount of vitamin D. 


Hair Loss


Nutritional deficiency of vitamin D deficiency can cause hair loss. Therefore to protect yourself from alopecia, you should consume an optimal amount of vitamin D.


Muscle Pain 


Vitamin D deficiency can also cause muscle pain.



How Can You Get Vitamin D?


To get vitamin D, the following things can work;


Get yourself exposed to sunlight early in the morning for at least 20 minutes, three days a week. 


Take nutritional supplements containing vitamin D.


Incorporate foods in your diet that contain vitamin D. Foods that can give you vitamin D are;


  • Cod liver oil

  • Swordfish

  • Salmon

  • Tuna

  • Orange juice fortified with vitamin D

  • Vitamin-fortified milk

  • Vitamin-fortified yogurt

  • Liver

  • Beef 

  • Egg yolk

  • Cheese


Recommended dietary allowance (IU/day) of vitamin D a Person Needs According to Age;



  • Infants 0-6 months*- 400

  • Infants 6-12 months*- 400

  • Children 1-3 years old- 600

  • Children 4-8 years old- 600

  • People 9-70 years old - 600

  • People over 70 years old- 800

  • Females 14-50 years old Pregnant/lactating- 600


Conclusion 


Vitamin D deficiency is a condition when your body has a low level of vitamin D as per your body's requirement. It can make you feel fatigued along with bone and muscle pain. However, overcoming vitamin D deficiency is not a difficult task. You can replenish its stores by getting yourself exposed to sunlight and taking a nutritional supplement. 

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