Good health is accompanied by a well-balanced diet that provides the right amounts of essential fats, proteins, energy, minerals, and vitamins. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D acts as a hormone when exposed to sunlight and every single cell in the body has a receptor for it. If your vitamin D level is lesser than 20 ng/ml then you are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium which promotes healthy bone and lack of it can impact your overall health. Also, vitamin D is crucial as it promotes your mood, well-being, heart functioning, and memory among other benefits. According to research, about one billion people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. You can test your levels of vitamin D using a blood test. However, there are several signs and symptoms show that you’re running low on vitamin D.
1. You Get Sick Easily
Vitamin D helps to keep your immune system strong so that your body is able to fight bacteria and viruses that cause illness. Vitamin D deficiency affects your immunity making you more prone to ailments such as colds or flu. There is a link between vitamin D deficiency and respiratory tract infections like pneumonia and bronchitis. A number of studies have found that supplementing with vitamin D lower risk of respiratory tract infection. This suggests that vitamin D supplements can boost the immune system.
2. Constant Fatigue and Tiredness
Vitamin D boosts your energy levels which makes you stay active for a longer time. Feeling tired can be caused by a number of things, vitamin D deficiency being one of them. Unfortunately, it’s frequently overlooked as a potential cause. There’s an established connection between vitamin D deficiency and fatigue in women. In one of the studies, they found out that women who complained of chronic daytime fatigue and headaches had vitamin D blood levels of only 5.9 ng/ml which is extremely low. After taking vitamin D supplements, their symptoms resolved and the vitamin D levels increased to 39 ng/ml.
3. Declined Bone Density
Vitamin D is vital for bone metabolism and calcium absorption, which is important for bone growth, density and strength. Low bone mineral density is an indication that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals as well as being vitamin D deficient. This is very common in older women who are in menopause or postmenopause. In a study involving 1100 middle-aged women, more than 60% of the women were vitamin D deficient and about 30% of those women had osteoporosis.
4. Slow Healing Wounds
Your body has a self-healing mechanism that is important in restoring and optimizing your health. In case you experience a slow healing wound, then it’s time you do something about your vitamin D levels because they are too low. Vitamin D plays an important role in controlling inflammation and fighting infection, thus ensuring proper healing. Be careful since severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to impaired healing or jeopardize the healing process completely.
5. Muscle Pain
It’s hard to say exactly what causes muscle pain but studies suggest that vitamin D deficiency may be a potential cause. Lack of vitamin D can cause muscle pain and weakness which leads to chronic muscle aches in both adults and children. Experts suggest that this pain starts quite subtly and then builds up over time. Taking a high dose of vitamin D supplements can reduce various types of pain in people who are deficient.
6. Severe Hair loss
Stress is the common cause of hair loss. However, deficiency in vitamin D can also lead to severe hair loss. There’s a correlation between hair loss and low vitamin D levels in women. Furthermore, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss which is linked to low vitamin D levels. Topical application of a synthetic form of vitamin D can treat hair loss.
Depressed mood, particularly in older adults, is a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Some studies suggest that giving vitamin D supplements to people helps to improve depression, including seasonal depression that occurs during the cold months. In one study, 65% of observational studies found a relationship between low blood levels and depression. However, the researcher noted that the dosages of vitamin D in controlled studies were often low.
Vitamin D deficiencies are very common. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of it since it’s difficult to tell if the symptoms you are experiencing are caused by low vitamin D levels or not. If you think you have low levels of vitamin D, it’s crucial to speak to your doctor for further diagnosis. Most viable options to treat vitamin D deficiency is increasing your sun exposure or eating more vitamin D rich foods such as tuna, salmon, soy milk, cheese, egg yolks and beef liver.
All images via Pexels