Vitamin D is a very important compound for our body. Our body synthesizes Vitamin D from cholesterol when we are exposed to sunlight. Some specific foods also contain high levels of Vitamin D. But in recent years doctors have begun to discover that there is almost an endemic Vitamin C deficiency among modern humans. A study conducted in 2011 found that more than 40% of adults in the USA suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. In some people, the deficiency is so severe that they experience very serious health complications.
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Some symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are:
- Weakened immune system- Vitamin D plays a very important role in keeping our immune system robust. People who suffer from respiratory infections like colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia often have an underlying Vitamin D deficiency. Especially elderly patients with chronic COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) benefit greatly from regular Vitamin D intake.
- Body aches- Vitamin D deficiency often causes chronic muscle aches. Vitamin D is present in neural receptors called Nociceptors. These Nociceptors sense pain and a Vitamin D deficiency cause them to become over-sensitive.
Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with bone pain. Vitamin D plays a very important role in the absorption of Calcium in the body. In a person with Vitamin D deficiency lack of Calcium can cause back pain.
- Reduction in bone density – as Vitamin D helps in the absorption of Calcium in the body, people with prolonged Vitamin D deficiency often experience a reduction in their bone density. Their bones become weak and very prone to breakage. Low bone mineral density is a common problem in postmenopausal women.
- Chronic fatigue- we often chalk up being tired to just over-exertion. But for some people, chronic fatigue can be a debilitating issue that hampers their quality of life. Vitamin D deficiency is believed to have a close relationship with chronic fatigue.
- Feeling depressed- researchers are now examining a link between mental health issues like depression and Vitamin D deficiency. One study reports that 65% of people suffering from depression also have low Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is also being tested as a solution to alleviate seasonal depression. But there is still a lot more research to be done in this area of study.
- Slow healing – after surgery or after getting a deep wound, if it takes very long for your skin to heal it might be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D has properties that help in the creation of new skin during wound healing. Vitamin D also helps fight infections in the body and it acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Severe hair loss- severe hair loss is often associated with low vitamin levels in the body. Especially Vitamin D deficiency is closely related to hair loss. Vitamin D deficient patients are at a higher risk for developing Alopecia areata ( a disease that causes all hair on the body to fall out).
These are some common symptoms and manifestations of Vitamin D deficiency. But these symptoms are also associated with other ailments. In case you are experiencing one or more of these issues, it is important to consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
How to combat Vitamin D deficiency?
The first step is to get your Vitamin D levels tested. If you are deficient in Vitamin D there are some easy methods to overcome the problem:
- Try to spend more time under sunlight (but make sure to not over-heat and use sunscreens)
- Consume Vitamin D-rich foods. Dairy products enriched with Vitamin D, some fatty fishes are all great sources of Vitamin D
- In case of severe deficiency, doctors may also recommend Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and maintaining optimum levels of it in the body can go a long way towards ensuring general physical and mental well-being.