Vitamins and minerals play an important role in our life. They are responsible for many essential bodily functions, including synthesising body tissues, strengthening bones and muscles, flushing out toxins and preventing several health conditions. All the nutrients are not produced naturally in the body, hence it is important to consume them through diet. Vitamin D deficiency means that you are not taking enough vitamin D to stay healthy. And, this deficiency in the body can lead to several health effects. You have to eat whole foods and dairy products that contain all the essential vitamins and minerals. You should take a well balanced diet for effective body functioning and to save yourself from any other deficiencies. Otherwise, you might feel fatigue, pale, and the deficiencies can affect you hair and skin too.
Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that can have a huge impact on several systems in your body. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D acts like a hormone, and every single cell in your body has a structure for it. Your body produces it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It is also found in some foods such as fatty fish and dairy products. Although, it can be very difficult to get enough amount of Vitamin D from diet alone. Maximum people do not even realize that they are Vitamin D deficient, as symptoms are usually non-specific. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dietician Arushi Gupta, Associate Dietician, Dayanand Medical College and hospital, Ludhiana, about the signs that your body is having a Vitamin D deficiency.
Signs of Vitamin D deficiency
Even though we know that staying under the sun for longer periods of time can have a negative impact on our skin, the sun exposure has many health benefits as well. It is the main source of vitamin D for the human body. Vitamin D is an essential and special vitamin that is beneficial for your overall health, including bones, muscles, and healing. According to Dt. Arushi, here are 9 signs of a vitamin D deficiency:
1. Fatigue and weakness
Feeling of fatigue can have many causes behind it and vitamin D deficiency is one of them. However, it is often not considered as a possible cause. Fatigue and weakness are common symptoms of having a Vitamin D deficiency in the body. You can deal with this sign by taking a good amount of Vitamin-D rich foods and sun exposure.
2. Bone pain
Vitamin D helps in maintaining good bone health in a lot of ways. Mainly, it improves your body’s absorption of calcium. Therefore, this vitamin's deficiency can be a major factor behind bone pain. A vitamin-D boost can be helpful in dealing with bone pain. Your doctor might even prescribe Vitamin-D supplements to cover the deficiency and get rid of bone pain and other symptoms.
Also read: What Foods Have Good Source Of Vitamin D?
3. Hair loss
Hair loss is an uncommon sign and can be caused due to many factors, including Vitamin D deficiency. Hair loss is mostly associated with stress, which is surely a common cause of this symptom. But, when hair loss is severe, it can also be due to a disease or even a nutrient deficiency. Many Vitamin D rich foods and nutrients can have an impact on the health of your hair. If you experience hair loss, you should take a healthy diet and even supplements, if required.
4. Wounds taking longer to heal
Wounds after surgery or injury taking longer to heal is also a sign that your vitamin D levels are too low. There is a connection between Vitamin D and reducing inflammation and fighting infection as they are important for proper healing of wounds. In an analysis, it was found that those with severe vitamin D deficiency were at a greater risk to have higher levels of inflammatory markers that can slow down the healing process.
5. Muscle pain
Muscle pain is also another sign that indicates your body is begging for Vitamin D. The causes of muscle pain are usually difficult to determine. There is some evidence that shows vitamin D deficiency can be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults. The vitamin D receptor is present in nerve cells called nociceptors, which can sense pain.
6. Getting sick often
Vitamin D is also responsible in keeping your immune system strong so that you are able to combat viruses and bacteria that can cause health problems. It directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection. If you get sick often, especially with colds or flu symptoms, it can be due to low vitamin D levels. Several observational studies have shown a strong link between a vitamin deficiency and respiratory tract infections such as colds, bronchitis and pneumonia.
7. Back pain
Bone pain and lower back pain may be signs of inadequate vitamin D levels in the blood. The researchers found that those with a deficiency were more likely to have back pain, including severe back pain that limited their daily activities. Bone pain occurs in the whole body, but back pain specifically is a prominent symptom of Vitamin-D deficiency.
Depression can also be a possible sign of vitamin D deficiency. According to many researchers, there is a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and depression, specifically in older adults. If you go out in the sunlight, it can freshen up your mood and prevent depression. People having lower levels of vitamin D in the body are at a higher risk of depression.
Also read: 5 Common Nutritional Deficiencies In Indians
9. Bone loss
Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Many older people who get diagnosed with bone loss, say that they need to take more calcium. But, they may be deficient in vitamin D as well. Low bone mineral density is a sign that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals. This happens mostly with older adults, especially women, with a higher risk of fractures. It can also lead to high BP, asthama and type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common deficiency and most people are not even aware about it. This happens because the symptoms are mostly general and non-specific, and it can be tough to know if they are being caused due to vitamin D deficiency or something else. If you think you may have a deficiency, it is important that you talk to your doctor and get your blood levels measured. Luckily, a vitamin D deficiency is mostly easy to fix. You can either increase your sun exposure or starting consuming more vitamin-D-rich foods such as dairy products.
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