Vitamin D deficiency can be responsible for many different symptoms. How many of these do you have? Do you take Vitamin D daily? I recommend 5000 IU’s per day for those living in northern latitudes, especially in the winter when sunlight is diminished. Read this article from HealthWay for more insights, Debbie Martilotta.
Today, more than 40 percent of Americans are deficient. The potential health consequences of this epidemic are serious, as vitamin D deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, and poor pregnancy outcomes.
D-ficient? Odds are you don’t know.
According to the Vitamin D Council, symptoms can be subtle—or even nonexistent—in the early stages. You might experience some tiredness and general aches and pains, but these symptoms are easy to dismiss because there are many things that cause them.
Aches and pains? You can easily chalk them up to the aftereffects of your last workout—or simply not being 20 anymore. Tiredness? That could be because you aren’t getting enough quality sleep.
Here are 15 signs that will help you know if you’re vitamin D deficient.
You should be aware that muscle weakness can present as generalized body fatigue. If you’re experiencing a more general fatigue around your body, muscle weakness issues in specific areas may stay hidden and go unnoticed for months.
In a study of 150 patients referred to a clinic in Minnesota for persistent, general musculoskeletal pain, 93 percent had vitamin D levels equal to or below 20 ng/mL, a level considered deficient by most experts.
Constant Respiratory Problems
Studies show that vitamin D may help defend against respiratory illness, and this is especially true in children. If your child has severe asthma, you may want to increase their vitamin D intake.ll breath may quickly spiral into a panic that your life is in immediate danger.
Years ago, doctors used to ask new mothers if their newborns’ heads were sweating more than normal. This can be a very early sign that a baby is vitamin D deficient. If you’re breastfeeding, it may be helpful to consume more foods that are rich in vitamin D or include some vitamin D drops in your regimen to make sure your baby is getting a sufficient amount.
As it turns out, the sun is vital to keeping a smile on your face. Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because it is activated in your skin by sunlight. If you live in a place that sees less sunlight than global averages, the lack of light could literally kill your mood. According to the Vitamin D Council, this essential nutrient helps your brain’s neurotransmitters produce serotonin, which affects our feelings of happiness.
Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of female infertility. One common symptom of PCOS is acanthosis nigricans, which results in dark, velvety skin patches.
“In the fertility world we like to get a baseline on all of our patients and we see many who are deficient,” said Seattle-area registered dietitian nutritionist Judy Simon MS, RDN, CD, CHES, of Mind Body Nutrition.
Vitamin D is known to have an effect on over 2,000 genes in the human body, so it’s no surprise that the strength of your body’s immune system is also tied to how much vitamin D you are taking in. When there’s a healthy amount of vitamin D being processed by your body, your immune system is resilient and able to fight off infections and disease.
Cardiovascular diseases are heart conditions that may include damaged blood vessels or frequent blood clotting, among other issues. Articles published by the National Institutes of Health have shown that deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to congestive heart failure.
Psoriasis may present itself as a scaly rash on your scalp or other parts of your body. Often it can be agitated by stress (unfortunately, finding out you have psoriasis tends to cause stress too). Although psoriasis is not always connected to a lack of vitamin D, the vitamin is sometimes used during treatment. The Mayo Clinic claims that if you have a lack of vitamin D, it will be harder for your body to defend itself against psoriasis.
If you experience chronic, widespread pain throughout your body, it could be due in part to a lack of vitamin D. This connection was only recently discovered. In 2010, researchers began looking into the link between chronic pain and a lack of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is one of the vitamins your body needs to create energy, and without it, you can end up feeling tired most of the day. This will make it hard for you to get around or even get to work. Without much energy, you may start changing your daily behavior in negative ways, which in turn may impair your overall health.
Harvard University conducted a review of health studies across numerous cohorts that associated increased risk of multiple health outcomes including cardiovascular disease and hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure) with vitamin D deficiency.
As we mentioned in relation to depression, vitamin D affects the levels of serotonin in your brain, which is what affects your mood. If you’re feeling cranky, it might be because you’re not producing enough serotonin. Vitamin D will help your moods stay balanced by ensuring your brain is working with the materials it needs to stay energized and focused.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Kidneys help remove waste from your blood. When they’re not functioning correctly, your bloodstream can fill up with waste, seriously damaging your health. Doctors have recently connected kidney health to cardiovascular disease. They’ve also discovered how important vitamin D can be to your kidneys’ health.
If you’re an athlete and you’re seeing your endurance decrease for no apparent reason, it might be because you have low vitamin D levels. Experts in athletic circles now realize that vitamin D is crucial to energy levels, especially when it comes to endurance. Even active people who get outside every day can experience these issues, despite getting more than the recommended amount of sunlight per day (20 to 30 minutes).
A Side Effect of Modern Life?
For many of us, work means days spent at a desk and leisure means binge-watching the latest Netflix series or catching up on social media. That’s a lot of indoor time, but even when we are outdoors we’re likely to double down on sun protection to prevent premature aging and skin cancer.
Dairy products are fortified with vitamin D, but milk sales are in decline, as more people avoid dairy due to restrictive diets, milk allergies, or lactose intolerance.
What’s your risk?
Although 4 in 10 Americans may be deficient in vitamin D, some people have a higher risk. As mentioned, if you spend a lot of time indoors and protect your skin with clothing or sunscreen when you are outdoors (as you should), your risk increases. Living in northern climates—where winters are longer, colder and darker—amplifies this risk. But a few other risk factors might surprise you:
- Dark skin. The darker your skin, the more sun it takes to make vitamin D.
- Body mass index (BMI) over 30. Vitamin D can become “sequestered” in excess body fat instead of making its way to the bloodstream.
- Past gastric bypass surgery.
Why It Matters
Linke says that bringing vitamin D levels back to the normal range has been a “game changer” for many of her clients who have autoimmune conditions. She cites another client—a woman in her late twenties—whose vitamin D was a 4.
Within 10 days of starting vitamin D, along with magnesium (magnesium deficiency can interfere with vitamin D metabolism) and dietary changes, she was able to wear regular shoes and walk without assistance.
As with all health-related issues, talk with your doctor or another medical professional if you are seeing any signs or symptoms that concern you. Deficiency is simple to test for and simple to treat. If in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider.
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