Signs You Are Deficient In Vitamin D

April 13, 2022 0 Comments

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in our bodily functions. It helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, which are essential for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.

Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], also known as calcidiol. The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], also known as calcitriol.

Vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to the sun but can also be obtained from foods such as oily fish or fortified cereals, or dairy products. While mild vitamin D deficiency is common, especially in winter months or in people with naturally darker skin, the severe lack can lead to several illnesses and conditions.

Here are seven clear signs you might be deficient in vitamin D.

  • Muscle pain

Muscles are controlled by the nervous system, which, in turn, sends impulses from the brain to the muscle through nerves. These nerve impulses are regulated by calcium, and vitamin D helps regulate calcium levels. Therefore, someone with a vitamin D deficiency may experience muscle pain due to poor nerve impulse control.

Vitamin D plays an important role in muscle function and regulation, so when you don’t have enough of it, you may experience pain or weakness in your muscles.

  • Reduced Bone Strength

Vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and development because it aids in calcium absorption. If bones do not have enough calcium, they can become weak and brittle and cause osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bones to become porous and porous bones are more likely to break. A vitamin D deficiency can also cause rickets in children if left untreated.

  • Fatigue

Lack of sleep can cause fatigue. Another sign that you may be deficient in vitamin D. Fatigue may be caused by vitamin D deficiency, which often goes undetected due to its less-obvious telltale signs. One study in 480 older adults linked vitamin D deficiency with fatigue symptoms. Another survey on female nurses found that low vitamin D levels were correlated with self-reported fatigue. 89% of the participants were also deficient in this vitamin. Supplementing this vitamin may reduce the severity of fatigue in people with a deficiency.

  • Back pain

Vitamin D helps keep bones strong. When we don’t get enough vitamin D, our bodies do not absorb calcium properly, and our bones lose minerals. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to weaker bones and a higher risk for osteoporosis and fractures. Your back pain could be from the weakened bones in your spine, which may cause distress or collapse in severe cases.

  • Getting sick often

Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to help prevent colds, flu, and other illnesses. People with lower vitamin D levels are more likely to catch infections such as colds or the flu than those with normal levels. Also, people with low vitamin D levels are more likely to cat upper respiratory tract infections such as tonsillitis than those with high levels of vitamin D in their blood.

  • Depression and anxiety

Feelings of depression and anxiety are some of the side effects that can occur with low levels of vitamin D. A lack of sunlight can also make you feel depressed because vitamin D is produced by your skin when exposed to light.

  • Impaired wound healing

Wounds need vitamin D for healing as it promotes the development and differentiation of new skin cells. People with lower vitamin D levels tend to heal more slowly after an injury than people with higher levels. Vitamin D’s role in controlling inflammation and addressing infections is essential for proper healing.

  • Hair Loss

Many foods and nutrients may affect hair health. While stress is a common cause of hair loss, severe hair loss may result from a disease or nutrient deficiency. Hair loss in women is linked to low vitamin D levels. Though research is lacking, studies tie low vitamin D levels to alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss.

Studies in people with this condition associated lower vitamin D levels with more severe hair loss. In another study in 48 people with this condition, applying a synthetic form of vitamin D topically for 12 weeks significantly increased hair regrowth.

Another research review found that vitamin D levels may inverse relationship with non-scarring hair loss. This means the higher the vitamin D levels, the less hair loss detected in the study, and vice versa.

Causes a vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is typically defined as having blood levels below 20 ng/mL, while levels from 21–29 ng/mL are considered insufficient

While there’s no single cause for deficiency, your overall risk may be higher as a result of certain underlying conditions or lifestyle factors. Some of the most common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are

  • having dark skin
  • being older
  • having overweight or obesity
  • not eating much fish or dairy
  • living far from the equator or in regions with little sunlight year-round
  • staying or working indoors
  • working overnight shifts
  • having chronic kidney disease, liver disease, or hyperparathyroidism 
  • having a health condition that affects nutrient absorption, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, having gastric bypass surgery
  • using certain medications that affect vitamin D metabolisms, such as statins and steroids

People who live near the equator and get frequent sun exposure are less likely to have a deficiency because their skin produces enough vitamin D.

While people who often wear sunscreen outdoors are also at an increased risk of deficiency, using sunscreen is essential to reduce skin damage and cancer risk due to sun exposure.


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