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Signs of a Vitamin D Deficiency

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What are the signs of Vitamin D deficiency? It may manifest in a variety of ways, so learn how to notice the signs of a vitamin D deficiency & what to do here.

Vitamin D absorbs calcium, supporting bone and teeth health and cell growth. As we are spending more time in our homes, a daily dose of vitamin D has never been more important to help you and your family stay well.Vitamin D

Low vitamin D can lead to health conditions like fatigue and bone problems and like all vitamins, it is essential for our health and well-being. This article will explore what vitamin D is, why it’s important to get enough of it and how to spot the signs of vitamin D deficiency.

What does it mean to have a vitamin D deficiency?

A vitamin D deficiency is when you don’t have enough vitamin D in your body. In the winter months particularly, we are not always able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight and we may need to top it up. Some people will never get enough vitamin D levels from sunlight as they don’t get enough exposure to the sun. In these cases, it is recommended to take a daily vitamin D supplement.

Signs for vitamin D deficiency

A large percentage, 90% to be exact, of the vitamin D in our bodies need comes from being out in the sunlight, and only 10% is from our diet. Many people may not notice the signs of vitamin D deficiency and may instead complain of tiredness or general aches. However, symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency vary from person to person. Read on to spot the signs of vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D in the sandLow mood

The so-called happy hormone depletes with lack of sun exposure. Our bodies need vitamin D to activate and to effectively make serotonin in the brain. If you feel low or irritable, it could be a sign that you are deficient in vitamin D.

Weak Muscles

Vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to muscle weakness in ageing adults, which leads to legs feeling heavy and it can be difficult to stand up and climb stairs. All of this makes falls and fracture an increased risk. Vitamin D also helps our bodies absorb calcium to keep bones, muscles and teeth healthy, making it even more important to keep topped up.

Getting sick often

If you seem to catch every cold going around and get sick a lot, it may be down to low levels of vitamin D. This is because vitamin D acts as an essential vitamin for keeping your immune system strong and healthy. It is recommended that everybody starts to supplement vitamin D in the early autumn thought winter, to make sure they have enough vitamin, or when you don’t get out in the sun as much as you should be

 

doing.

Fatigue

People who are tired all the time, especially older adults, may not suspect a vitamin D deficiency, but it could be the reason for their lack of energy. An increase in vitamin D levels have shown to improve signs of fatigue, however if you feel as though your fatigue symptoms are not improving, you may be suffering from an iron deficiency and should seek medical assistance if your symptoms progress.

Weight Gain

If your appetite has increased remarkably, or you are gaining weight, vitamin D may be playing a role. Research has revealed that low levels of vitamin D are associated with being overweight and obese. Whereas higher levels of vitamin D are associated with reductions in body fat.

This could be a result of vitamin D helping in the control of if a hormone called leptin, which helps to inhibit hunger and reduce fat storage. If the body has a low level of vitamin D, and therefore struggles to produce a healthy level of leptin, this could be a contributing factor to overeating and weight gain.

 

Groups of people who are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D

A lack of vitamin D is very common. About 1 in 5 adults in the UK have low vitamin D levels. More people have low vitamin D levels in the Autumn and Winter because of less exposure to sunlight. However, there are other reasons that may be the cause for low vitamin D levels in other people.

Vegans

Vegans can have low levels of vitamin D because most natural sources of the vitamin are animal based. Pay extra attention to your diet, eat fortified foods such as cereal, soya milk, almond milk, and drink orange juice. If possible, also take a high-quality vitamin D supplement.

People with darker skin

If your skin is darker, this can mean that it is harder for your body to make Vitamin D, even if you get plenty of sunlight. Older adults with dark skin are particularly at risk. A carefully planned diet rich in vitamin D, or a supplement, are both great options to increase the intake of vitamin D.

Those over the age of 50

People over the age of 50 lose some of their natural ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure, making them one of the most at-risk groups. Their kidneys also become less efficient at converting the vitamin, making it more important for this group to stay active and spend plenty of time outside.

Old couple by the sea

 

How to detect a vitamin D deficiency

If you are feeling more tired than normal and your signs of vitamin D deficiency seem to be worsening, you may be wondering about getting a vitamin D test. You can arrange one with your doctor, who will take a blood sample to make the diagnoses, or do a vitamin D at-home test, which rely on a finger prick blood sample.

What to do if you are vitamin D deficient?

The first thing you needs to do is seek medical advice. Normally, the best way for your body to make vitamin D is through exposure to the sun, however, sunlight is often not enough to reverse and already existing deficiency.

So, when sunlight is not a reliable source, especially in the colder months, more vitamin D needs to be added through your diet. Consider what you eat, enrich your diet with natural sources of vitamin D, here are some of the best foods you can eat if you are low on vitamin D:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Dairy
  • Fruit juices
  • Breakfast cereals.

Vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly common, but the signs of vitamin D deficiency are often subtle and nonspecific, so it may be hard to know whether you have a deficiency or some other health condition. Vitamin D deficiency can normally be treated with supplements, but a doctor may be needed to advise on the correct dosage. Increasing you sun exposure and eating more vitamin D-rich foods can also help.

Now that you know everything about the signs of vitamin D deficiency, learn more about signs of vitamin deficiencies and read our article signs of a vitamin C deficiency, next.

 

Sources:

https://www.livi.co.uk/your-health/do-i-have-a-vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms-causes-and-treatments/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#_noHeaderPrefixedContent

https://patient.info/bones-joints-muscles/osteoporosis-leaflet/vitamin-d-deficiency

https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/the-health-hub/vitamins-and-supplements/vitamins/vitamin-d/identify-treat-vitamin-d-deficiency/

 

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