How to identify Vitamin D deficiency symptoms
Introduction – Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamins can be described as organic substances that are required by the body to perform. Vitamins cannot be produced by the body but are obtained from natural foods or dietary supplements. It is important to note that supplements are simply just food substances, and unless synthetic, they are also obtained from living plants and animals. These supplements are usually available in capsule, tablet, liquid, powder, spray or injection form. Supplements are also not meant to replace or substitute healthy diets.
Vitamins that are required to live can either be fat-soluble or water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are those that cannot be stored in the body for long and are mostly required on a daily basis. Fat-soluble vitamins are those that can be stored in the body for long. Examples of these vitamins are A, D, E, and K. The water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and the B vitamins.
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Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin
The primary role of Vitamin D in the body is regulating calcium and phosphorous to help make bones healthier and strong. Sunlight is the main source of Vitamin D and it rarely occurs naturally in foods. Some of these foods include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring and oils from fish, including cod liver oil.
Vitamin D occurs in four forms; D3 (cholecalciferol), Calcidiol, Calcitriol and D2. Vitamin D3 is made by the skin when it is exposed to direct sunlight containing the B form of ultraviolet radiation (UVB). This is the more common form that is used in many supplements and also in food fortification. Examples of foods that are fortified with Vitamin D are milk, some juice products, some bread, yogurts, and cheeses.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D in the body makes it possible to have enough calcium in the bloodstream and any deficiency in Vitamin D may affect the level of calcium in the bloodstream.
Children who have vitamin D deficiency end up with unhealthy bones because the bones fail to mineralize properly and may result in a condition known as rickets. Bones are most susceptible to low vitamin D levels when the bones are growing rapidly.
Vitamin D Deficiency Risk Factors
- Breast-fed infants not exposed to sunlight.
- Elderly people have less ability to synthesize vitamin D in the skin.
- Institutionalized people of all ages.
- People with dark skin.
- People who live in cold climates.
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms
- Fatigue – A scientific research that was carried out suggested that vitamin D deficiency was linked to chronic fatigue syndrome and that patients with moderate to severe CFS should be encouraged to obtain adequate sun exposure and eat foods high in vitamin D
- Joint pain and/or swelling
- Muscle pain, cramping, and/or weakness
- Chronic pain
- Uncontrolled weight gain – Increased gain in weight results in a decline of Vitamin D in the body. Lower Vitamin D levels with excessive weight are also associated with high blood pressure, poor glucose control, arthritis and cancer.
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- Restless sleep
- Poor concentration and memory
- Headaches – Research study suggests that Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to regular headaches
- Bowel problems (constipation, diarrhea, or both)
- Bladder problems (urgency, frequency, or both)
- Weak immune system
- High blood pressure
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Diseases and medical conditions associated with Vitamin D deficiency
- Depression, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis, gout, pseudogout, tendinitis, bursitis)
- Gum disease and tooth loss
- Heart disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosis)
Below are some of the key benefits of Vitamin D
- Relieves the symptoms of seasonal depression
- Plays a critical role in slowing or preventing many types of arthritis
- Reduces the likelihood that you’ll have a heart attack or a stroke
- Improves the release of insulin and the response of muscle and liver to insulin, which means that normal levels of vitamin D may help prevent diabetes
- Helps you develop a healthy immune system during childhood
- Plays a key role in regulating cell growth and differentiation, which may prevent cancer
The final comment on vitamin D deficiency
Being outdoors allows you to get a fair amount of sun exposure and some sun-related generation of Vitamin D which may help prevent any vitamin d deficiency. It is also important to make sure that you consider other sources of vitamin D from foods or supplements. It is suggested that since it’s difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone during autum and winter, everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.
DISCLAIMER: THIS SHOULD BE USED FOR INFORMATION AND EDUCATION PURPOSES. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO TREAT, DIAGNOSE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTH CARE DECISIONS BASED ON RESEARCH AND ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL
Blake, S., 2011. Vitamins & Minerals Demystified. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.
Dowd, J. and Stafford, D., 2008. The Vitamin D Cure. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
Mindell, E., 2002. Earl Mindell’s Vitamin Bible For The 21St Century. New York: Ereads.com.