It is a widely known fact that 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure can give your body a good amount of vitamin D it needs for the day. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is one of the most essential vitamins your body requires to stay healthy. The low levels of vitamin D in the body can lead to several health problems including a weakened immune system. But what if you are not able to get that regular sun exposure? How can you tell if your body might be dipping low in vitamin D? Let’s discover more about the role of vital nutrients in the body, signs that you could have vitamin D deficiency and how you can boost it.
How to Spot a Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin-D deficiency is quite common but most individuals don’t realize that they are deficient in the sunshine vitamin, because the early signs are generally subtle and may not be obvious. In a nutshell, it’s not easy to know if they are caused by low levels of vitamin D or something else. However, there are a few signs and symptoms you must not ignore. Think your body is suffering from a lack of vitamin D? Scroll down to discover the unpleasant signs of vitamin D deficiency.
1. Fatigue and Weakness
Individuals with low Vitamin D levels in the body often face general weakness and tiredness. If you are resting well and still find yourself feeling sleepy throughout the day, chances are, your vitamin D levels in your body are low. You must get your vitamin D levels checked and consult your doctor.
2. Getting Sick Often
Vitamin D plays an important role to keep your immune system strong so that you are able to fight off disease-causing bacteria and viruses. As previously mentioned, the low level of vitamin D in your body may weaken your immune system. If you are eating healthy and still get sick often, especially with a cold or the flu, severe and prolonged deficiency of vitamin D may be the reason behind it.
3. Back and Bone Pain
We all know that vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium, which plays a vital role in building strong and healthy bones, and overall maintenance of bone health. As a result, people who are deficient in this vitamin are likely to experience symptoms such as back pain and bone pain.
4. Loss of Bone
As mentioned in the above point, vitamin D plays an important role in bone calcium absorption, which is the main building block of bones. In severe cases, lack of vitamin D can results in bone loss due to lower bone mineral density (BMD), which can further put you at risk of osteoporosis, muscular pains and fractures (broken bones).
5. Hair Loss
There are various causes of hair loss out there, and the low levels of Vitamin D in your body is one of them. In fact, people who are deficient in vitamin D may lose hair not only from their heads but from other parts of the body, as well. Hence, if you are experiencing hair loss do not ignore it and consult a doctor to diagnose it and get the condition treated.
What are the Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency?
Now you have assessed the signs and symptoms of low vitamin D, you must also understand what could be causing the deficiency. Well, a lack of sunshine is a main contributing factor for vitamin D deficiency to develop in most individuals. Apart from limited or no solar exposure at all, there are other causes of low vitamin D. These include:
- Poor Diet: This one is true for individuals following a strict vegan diet! Those who choose this type of diet are usually at risk of developing Vitamin D deficiency. To boost the vitamin D intake, they need to take vitamin D supplements or vitamin D tablets as most of the natural food sources of this essential vitamin are non-vegetarian such as beef liver, fish oil, and fortified dairy products.
- Dark Skin: Dark-skinned individuals have a high concentration of melanin, which is mainly responsible for the pigmentation of the skin. However, it interferes in the synthesis of the sunshine vitamin resulting in its deficiency.
- Certain Medical Conditions– Specific health conditions particularly related to the digestive tract such as celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn’s disease may result in a low level of vitamin D.
- Obesity – Obese people are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency because fat cells in their bodies prevent it to release.
- Medicines- Certain medicines like steroids, cholesterol-lowering drugs, laxatives and anti-tuberculosis drugs reduce the level of vitamin D in the body.
The Bottom Line
As you know now, the signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are actually not too obvious, which makes it hard to diagnose the condition. So, if you are experiencing any of the signs mentioned above associated with low Vitamin D levels, consult your healthcare provider and get your checked for Vitamin D.