12 Symptoms of a Vitamin D Deficiency
July 16, 2019
Wow! Summer is halfway over already! Where does the time go? Are you getting enough of Vitamin D, the Sunshine vitamin? We do not get much sun in Pittsburgh and many of us are experiencing the symptoms below and not attributing them to a Vitamin D deficiency.
12 Symptoms of a Vitamin D Deficiency
Known as the “sunshine” vitamin, vitamin D plays a vital role in your body. One of the four fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin D helps to promote the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. These two nutrients work with each other in order to make your bones stronger. If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, your body can only absorb a small amount of calcium and phosphorus. As a result, your bones will end up becoming very brittle, which could lead to easy breaks and fractures, as well as increase the chances of developing osteoporosis.
Therefore, in order to ensure that your body is absorbing as much calcium and phosphorus as possible, you need to make sure that you are getting enough vitamin D.
In addition to preventing brittle bones, breaks in the bones and the development of osteoporosis, vitamin D also does a lot more for your overall health. It has been found to reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers, including colon, breast and prostate cancer. It has also been found to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D also helps to improve the function of your lungs and plays an important part in regulating your mood.
If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, your health could suffer dramatically. You will be much more susceptible to broken bones and falls, which could also increase the chances of sustaining a broken bone. You could also become more prone to developing osteoporosis. On top of that, you run a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer and could suffer serious issues with your mood, including depression and anxiety.
How much vitamin D3 do you need? The amount depends on your age; according to the Vitamin D Council we need 45 iu’s per pound of body weight. How can you tell if you are getting enough vitamin D? The best way to tell is by having a blood test called 25 (OH) D performed. Optimal levels should be between 60-80 ng/dL. However, the development of certain symptoms can also indicate that you have a vitamin D deficiency.
What are the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency? Here’s a look at some of the most common side effects that people who are deficient in this vitamin experience.
1. You’re getting sick more often than you normally would
One of the key functions of vitamin D is keeping your immune system healthy. When your immune system is strong, you are better able to fight off infections and illnesses that are caused by viruses and bacteria. If you are deficient in vitamin D, your immune system is weakened, which means that you will become more susceptible to illnesses and infections. If you are contracting things like the flu, the common cold, strep throat or other infections and illnesses more frequently than you normally would, it could be because you are not getting enough vitamin D. You might also run the risk for developing chronic disorders, such as COPD. One study found that people who have COPD were highly deficient in vitamin D.
2. You are always tired and never feel well-rested
It doesn’t matter how much sleep you are getting; you always feel like you are tired. If that’s the case, it could very well be that you are suffering a vitamin D deficiency. Several studies have found that very low levels of vitamin D can cause severe fatigue, which in turn, can have negative effects on your overall health and your quality of life. If you are deficient in vitamin D, it doesn’t matter how much sleep you get, and how good that sleep is, you aren’t going to feel well-rested. Taking a vitamin D supplement, getting more sunshine or eating foods that are high in vitamin D can help to alleviate the problem.
3. You are experiencing pain in your back
Back pain is often attributed to lifting heavy items, not being supported properly while sleeping, or a number of other physical causes. However, it has also been found to be caused by a vitamin D deficiency. This vitamin plays a crucial role in maintaining proper bone health. If you are not getting enough vitamin D, you could end up experiencing pain in your back, specifically in the lower back. The pain can be severe, and it can be chronic. It can become so debilitating that it can actually limit the activities that you can partake in and severely impact your life in a multitude of ways.
4. You are experiencing pain in your bones
A vitamin D deficiency can also lead to pain in other bones in your body, aside from your back. For example, you may experience pain in your shins, your ankles, or even or forearms. This pain could be a side effect of not getting enough vitamin D. Again, since this vitamin plays such an important role in maintaining healthy, strong bones, if you aren’t getting enough of it, it stands to reason that bone pain would be a side effect.
5. You are feeling really down
It’s normal to feel down and depressed once in a while; however, if you are noticing that you are feeling noticeably down and very depressed, and it’s been going on for a long period of time, it might just be that you are deficient in vitamin D. Several research studies have found that a vitamin D deficiency, especially in older adults, can lead to depression. Why? – Because vitamin D helps to regulate certain chemicals in your brain, including those that impact your mood. If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, your mood could end up suffering.
6. You are feeling very anxious
Like depression, anxiety is a normal feeling to have once in a while; however, if you are feeling more anxious than normal, or you are worried about things that seem trivial and wouldn’t normally bother you, it might be that you aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Again, this is because vitamin D helps to regulate the chemicals that your brain produces that are responsible for controlling your mood. If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, you could very well end up feeling overly anxious.
7. You aren’t healing from wounds as quickly as you normally would
If you have suffered a scratch, a cut or any other type of wound and it is taking a longer time to heal than it normally would, it might be because you have low levels of vitamin D. Several lab studies have found that vitamin D increases the body’s ability to produce new skin, which is an important part in healing wounds. It has also been found that vitamin D plays in important part in controlling inflammation and fighting of infections, which are also important parts of the healing process. If you aren’t getting enough of the vitamin, you might not be healing from wounds as quickly as you normally would.
8. You are suffering from bone loss
As has already been discussed, vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of calcium and bone metabolism. Many older women who have been diagnosed with bone loss have been found to be deficient in vitamin D. If you aren’t getting enough of this vitamin, you could significantly increase your chances of losing bone density. This could not only lead to the development of osteoporosis, but it could also increase your chances of sustaining breaks and fractures, which in some cases, could be devastating, especially for older women.
9. You are losing a lot of hair
Some hair loss is normal; in fact, most people lose around 100 strands of hair every day. However, if you are noticing that there is a lot of hair collecting in your shower drain, you see a lot of hair in your comb, you are pulling out a lot of hair when you put it up, or you actually see the development of bald patches, a vitamin D deficiency could be to blame. Many studies have linked hair loss to low levels of vitamin D. Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease, is characterized by hair loss. It is linked to rickets, which is a disease that occurs as a result of soft bones in children as a result of vitamin D deficiency.
10. You are experiencing an increased amount of muscle pain
There are so many factors that can contribute to muscle pain, including a vitamin D deficiency. If you are suddenly noticing that your neck, back and shoulders, or any other area in your body that is associated with your muscles is feeling particularly achy, or that the pain is rather severe, it might be that you are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. The vitamin D receptor is present in nerve cells, which sense pain. As a result, if you aren’t getting enough of the vitamin, you could end up experiencing more pain in your muscles than you normally would, and it often isn’t related to a pulled muscle or any other type of condition.
11. You are sweating more than normal
If you are sweating a lot, even when you aren’t taking part in strenuous activities, it could be a side effect of a vitamin D deficiency. The sweat that is experienced because of this type of vitamin deficiency usually occurs on the head. Believe it or not, vitamin D actually helps with your body’s ability to produce sweat. If you are producing too much, it could be because you aren’t getting the right amount of this vitamin.
12. You are having trouble in your stomach
If you are feeling like you have more gas than normal, you are bloated, you experience aches and pains in your gut, or you are having difficulty passing stool, or have lose, watery stools, a vitamin D deficiency might be to blame. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. If you aren’t getting enough of it, you might not be able to absorb fat as much as you should, which could lead to serious issues with the gut. In extreme cases, a vitamin D deficiency can actually lead to severe conditions, such as Crohn’ disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and inflammatory bowel disease.
If you are experiencing any of these side effects of symptoms, you want to make sure that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible. The effects of a vitamin D deficiency can be corrected; however, if they are not, you could end up experiencing longer lasting, more severe effects. In order to ensure that you are obtaining optimal health, you need to make sure that you are getting enough vitamin D. A simple blood test will reveal if you are deficient in this vitamin. Taking supplements or making modifications to your diet could help to correct a deficiency, which could prevent or correct undesirable side effects.
We need this vitamin for our total health! Get in the sun today! And if you cannot then test your vitamin D levels and if they are low - supplement with Vitamin D3 only.
At the Apothecary, we offer Vitamin D testing! Call us today to get yours!
Susan Merenstein, RPh/Owner
Murray Avenue Apothecary
4227 Murray Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15217