8 signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout the body (1).

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D works like a hormone, and every cell in your body has a receptor for it.

Your body does it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

It is also found in certain foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, although it is very difficult to get enough of the diet alone.

The recommended daily intake (RDI) is usually around 400 to 800 IU, but many experts say that I should get even more.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It is estimated that around 1 billion people around the world have low levels of blood vitamin (2).

According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US UU They are deficient. This number increases to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African-Americans (3).

Here are 7 common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:

  • Having dark skin

  • Be old

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Do not eat a lot of fish or dairy.

  • Live far from the equator where there is little sun throughout the year.

  • Always using sunscreen when leaving.

  • Stay inside.

People who live near the equator and are frequently exposed to the sun are less likely to be deficient, since their skin produces enough vitamin D to meet the needs of their bodies.

Most people do not realize that they are deficient, since the symptoms are usually subtle. You may not recognize them easily, even if they have a significant negative effect on your quality of life.

Here are 8 signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

1. Get sick or get infected often

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

One of the most important functions of vitamin D is to keep your immune system strong so that you can fight the viruses and bacteria that cause diseases.

It interacts directly with the cells responsible for combating infections (4).

If you often get sick, especially with colds or flu, low vitamin D levels can be a contributing factor.

Several large observational studies have shown a relationship between a deficiency and respiratory tract infections such as colds, bronchitis and pneumonia (5, 6).

Several studies have found that taking vitamin D supplements at a dose of up to 4,000 IU per day can reduce your risk of respiratory tract infections (7, 8, 9).

In a study in people with COPD, chronic lung disease, only people with severe vitamin D deficiency experienced a significant benefit after taking a high-dose supplement for one year (10).

Summary Vitamin D plays an important role in immune function. One of the most common symptoms of deficiency is an increased risk of disease or infections.

2. Fatigue and fatigue

Feeling tired can have many causes and vitamin D deficiency can be one of them.

Unfortunately, it is often overlooked as a potential cause.

Case studies have shown that very low levels in the blood can cause fatigue that has a serious negative effect on quality of life (11, 12).

In one case, it was found that a woman who complained of chronic fatigue during the day and headaches had a blood level of vitamin D of only 5.9 ng / ml. This is extremely low, since anything below 20 ng / ml is considered deficient.

When the woman took a vitamin D supplement, her level increased to 39 ng / ml and her symptoms resolved (12).

However, even blood levels that are not extremely low can have a negative impact on your energy levels.

A large observational study analyzed the relationship between vitamin D and fatigue in young women.

The study found that women with blood levels of less than 20 ng / ml or 21-29 ng / ml were more likely to complain of fatigue than those with blood levels greater than 30 ng / ml (13).

Another observational study in female nurses found a strong connection between low vitamin D levels and self-reported fatigue.

What's more, the researchers found that 89% of the nurses were deficient (14).

For more information on how to reduce fatigue, consider reading about the 11 best vitamins and supplements to increase energy.

Summary Excessive fatigue and tiredness can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Taking supplements can help improve energy levels.

3. Bone and back pain

Vitamin D helps maintain bone health in several ways.

On the one hand, it improves the absorption of calcium from your body.

Bone pain and lower back pain can be signs of inadequate levels of vitamin D in the blood.

Large observational studies have found a link between a deficiency and chronic low back pain (15, 16, 17).

One study examined the association between vitamin D levels and back pain in more than 9,000 older women.

Researchers found that people with deficiency were more likely to have back pain, including severe back pain that limited their daily activities (17).

In a controlled study, people with vitamin D deficiency were almost twice as likely to experience pain in the bones of the legs, ribs or joints, compared to those with blood levels in the normal range (18).

Summary Low levels of vitamin D in the blood can be a cause or a contributing factor to bone pain and back pain.

4. depression

A depressed mood can also be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.

In review studies, researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency with depression, particularly in older adults (19, 20).

In one analysis, 65% of the observational studies found a relationship between low blood levels and depression.

On the other hand, most of the controlled trials, which have more scientific weight than the observational studies, did not show a link between the two (19).

However, the researchers who analyzed the studies observed that the doses of vitamin D in controlled studies were often very low.

In addition, they noted that some of the studies may not have lasted long enough to see the effect of taking supplements on mood.

Some controlled studies have shown that giving vitamin D to people with deficiency helps to improve depression, including seasonal depression that occurs during the colder months (21, 22).

Summary Depression is associated with low levels of vitamin D and some studies have found that supplementation improves mood.

5. Healing of damaged wounds

Slow healing of wounds after surgery or injury can be a sign that your vitamin D levels are too low.

The results of a test-tube study suggest that the vitamin increases the production of compounds that are crucial to forming a new skin as part of the wound healing process (23).

A study in people who underwent dental surgery found that certain aspects of healing were compromised by vitamin D deficiency (24).

It has also been suggested that the role of vitamin D in controlling inflammation and fighting infections is important for proper healing.

An analysis examined patients with diabetic foot infections.

It was found that people with severe vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have higher levels of inflammatory markers that may jeopardize healing (25).

Unfortunately, there is very little research on the effects of vitamin D supplements on wound healing in people with deficiency at this time.

However, one study found that when patients with vitamin D deficiency with leg ulcers were treated with the vitamin, the size of the ulcer was reduced by 28%, on average (26).

Summary Inadequate levels of vitamin D can lead to poor wound healing after surgery, injury or infection.

6. Bone loss

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium and bone metabolism.

Many older people diagnosed with bone loss believe they need to take more calcium. However, they may also be deficient in vitamin D.

Low bone mineral density is an indication that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals. This places older adults, especially women, at an increased risk of fractures.

In a large observational study of more than 1,100 middle-aged women in menopause or postmenopause, the researchers found a strong relationship between low vitamin D levels and low bone mineral density (27).

However, a controlled study found that women with vitamin D deficiency did not experience an improvement in bone mineral density when taking high-dose supplements, even if their blood levels improved (28).

Regardless of these findings, an adequate intake of vitamin D and maintaining blood levels within the optimal range can be a good strategy to protect bone mass and reduce the risk of fracture.

Summary A diagnosis of low bone mineral density can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Getting enough of this vitamin is important to preserve bone mass as you get older.

7. Hair loss

Hair loss is often attributed to stress, which is undoubtedly a common cause.

However, when hair loss is severe, it can be the result of a disease or nutrient deficiency.

Hair loss in women has been linked to low levels of vitamin D, although to date there is very little research (29).

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe loss of hair from the head and other parts of the body. It is associated with rickets, which is a disease that causes soft bones in children due to vitamin D deficiency (30).

Low levels of vitamin D are related to alopecia areata and may be a risk factor for the development of the disease (31, 32, 33).

A study in people with alopecia areata showed that lower levels of vitamin D in the blood tend to be associated with more severe hair loss (33).

In a case study, we found that the topical application of a synthetic form of the vitamin to successfully treat hair loss in a child with a defect in the vitamin D receptor (34).

Many other foods and nutrients can affect the health of your hair. If you experience hair loss, you may be interested in the 14 best foods for hair growth.

Summary Hair loss can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency in female pattern hair loss or the autoimmune alopecia areata condition.

8. Muscle pain

The causes of muscle pain are often difficult to identify.

There is some evidence that vitamin D deficiency may be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults (35, 36, 37).

In one study, 71% of people with chronic pain were found to be deficient (37).

The vitamin D receptor is present in nerve cells called nociceptors, which detect pain.

A study in rats showed that a deficiency led to pain and sensitivity due to the stimulation of nociceptors in the muscles (38).

Some studies have found that taking vitamin D supplements at high doses can reduce several types of pain in people with deficiency (39, 40).

A study in 120 children with vitamin D deficiency who had growing pains found that a single dose of the vitamin reduced pain scores by an average of 57% (40).

Summary There is a link between chronic pain and low levels of vitamin D in the blood, which may be due to the interaction between the vitamin and nerve cells sensitive to pain.

The bottom line

Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common and most people do not know it.

This is because the symptoms are often subtle and non-specific, which means that it is difficult to know if they are caused by low levels of vitamin D or something else.

If you think you may have a deficiency, it is important to talk to your doctor and have your blood levels measured.

Fortunately, a vitamin D deficiency is usually easy to solve. You can increase your exposure to the sun, eat more foods rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish or fortified dairy products, or simply take a supplement.

Fixing your deficiency is simple, easy and can have great benefits for your health.

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


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