14 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency You Should Never Ignore

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Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 24 May 2023| min read
14 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency You Should Never Ignore

Quick Summary

  • Vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem that can cause several health problems.
  • There are 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency, including fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, and bone fractures.
  • If you experience any of these signs, it is important to see a doctor to get your vitamin D levels checked.

Do you regularly feel tired? Are you also experiencing joint pain, muscle pain, and bone fractures? These may indicate a serious problem: Vitamin D deficiency! Vitamin D is extremely important for keeping the body healthy, and lacking it may cause several health problems.

There are majorly 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency. If you experience these signs, it is time to step up and restore the right amount of vitamin D in your body. While about one billion people around the globe experience vitamin D deficiency, half of the population has vitamin D insufficiency.

Wondering how to know the signs of vitamin D deficiency? The following blog discusses the importance of vitamin D in the body and the 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency that may indicate a need for corrective actions. Continue reading the blog to know more.

Role of Vitamin D in the Body

Vitamin D, a fat-soluble micronutrient, is essential for the physiological functioning of the human body. This is one such micronutrient that you eat and also a hormone that your body develops.

Vitamin D has long been known to aid the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are vital for keeping bone health. Scientific evidence has also shown that this vitamin can prevent cancer, aid in controlling infections and also reduce inflammation. 

This micronutrient also plays various other roles in the body. Some of these include:

  1. Muscular Health: The strength and efficiency of muscles are both influenced by vitamin D. It has been associated with enhanced balance, coordination, and muscle performance. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to muscle weakness, a higher risk of falling, and slowed muscle repair.
  2. Immunity: Adequate vitamin D levels have been linked with low risk of infections, autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancers. Vitamin D supports immune system homeostasis by regulating immune cell synthesis and function to encourage a balanced immunological response.
  3. Cardiovascular Health: Vitamin D also plays a pivotal role in cardiovascular health but regulating blood pressure and maintaining arterial health. Studies have also found that there is an association between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart failure and coronary artery diseases.

Your age determines how much vitamin D you need daily. The suggested dosages are as follows in international units (IU):

  1. Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
  2. Children 1 to 13 years: 600 IU
  3. Teens 14 to 18 years: 600 IU
  4. Adults 19 to 70 years: 600 IU
  5. Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
  6. Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU

Thus, it is vital to get vitamin D levels checked at regular intervals. If the levels of vitamin D are less than normal ranges, it can lead to vitamin D deficiency and disrupt the normal functioning of the body.

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Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

There is no single cause for vitamin D deficiency. Several lifestyle factors and underlying conditions can lead to a deficiency in vitamin D levels. In general, the two most common reasons for vitamin D deficiency are not getting enough of this vitamin and the body’s inability to absorb vitamin D. The specific causes include:

  1. Limited Sun Exposure: Individuals who spend most of their time indoors, wear clothing that covers most of their skin, or live in areas with limited sunlight may not get enough sun exposure to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
  2. Inadequate Diet: While some foods, like fatty fish and fortified dairy products, contain vitamin D, many people do not consume enough to meet their daily requirements. Vegetarians and vegans may have difficulty obtaining enough vitamin D from their diets.
  3. Certain Medical Conditions: People with conditions affecting the absorption of nutrients in the gut, such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, may have trouble absorbing vitamin D from their diet.
    Individuals who have undergone weight loss surgery or had part of their intestines removed may also be at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
  4. Certain Medications: Some medications can interfere with the body’s ability to use vitamin D. Certain anticonvulsants, glucocorticoids, and antifungal drugs can reduce vitamin D absorption or metabolism.

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Detecting vitamin D deficiency may be difficult as it may take months or years for the symptoms to occur. Sometimes, the symptoms may not occur at all. However, it is still important to look for signs that indicate insufficient vitamin D in your body.

There are 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency, several of which are similar to the symptoms of other major diseases. The signs of vitamin D deficiency are as follows: 

  1. Muscle Pain: Vitamin D is essential in keeping your muscles healthy and relaxed. Muscle pain is a common sign of vitamin D deficiency, as lacking this vitamin can make the muscles weak and achy.  
  2. Bone Pain: Vitamin D helps maintain bone strength by improving the body’s calcium absorption. A lack of vitamin D may weaken your bones, causing pain, cracking noises, and problems with standing, bending, or doing other activities. 
  3. Bone Loss: Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Without vitamin D, bone mineral density decreases, indicating that the bones have lost calcium and other minerals. As a result, older adults, especially women, develop a greater risk of fractures. 
  4. Recurring Illness or Infections: Another sign among the 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency is frequent illness and infections. Vitamin D supports immune health and fights viruses and bacteria that cause illness or infections.
    Without vitamin D, your immune system may not be as strong as it should be, and you may become sick more often, especially with cold or flu. 
  5. Tiredness and Fatigue: Fatigue is often linked to visible causes like depression, stress, and insomnia. But did you know fatigue is also one of the 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D deficiency can make you sleep for long stretches and feel tired and run down for no reason. Vitamin D deficiency can also make it difficult to get through daily activities. 
  6. Low Moods, Anxiety, or Depression: Vitamin D is an important nutrient to help stabilise your mood. A lack of this vitamin may cause rapid mood swings and a negative attitude towards life. According to some studies, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression, especially in older adults. 
  7. Impaired Wound Healing: Vitamin D helps maintain immune system strength. It also increases the production of compounds that form new skin on a wound. Vitamin D is crucial for proper wound healing as it helps controls inflammation and infections. Therefore, if you experience slow wound healing after an injury or surgery, it may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
  8. Hair Loss: While stress is the most common cause of losing hair, however, one of the 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency can be hair loss, as the nutrient is essential to keep the hair healthy.
    Insufficient vitamin D in the body can make your hair thin and brittle, leading to hair loss. Vitamin D deficiency may also prevent the emergence of new hair from the hair follicles. 
  9. Weight Gain: Vitamin D helps keep your metabolism stable. Weight gain is a sign of vitamin D deficiency, as a lack of this nutrient can cause your metabolism to slow down, making you feel weak and unable to lose weight. This may further lead to health problems like obesity. 
  10. Sleeping Problems: Vitamin D deficiency affects the brain’s nerves, influencing the neural path that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. It is associated with poor sleep, fewer sleeping hours, and excessive daytime sleepiness. If vitamin D levels are not restored, the cycle can continue, as inconsistent sleep patterns may increase irritability and mood swings, preventing the body from maintaining the right amounts of vitamin D. 
  11. Dizziness: Dizziness is one of the 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency, as the nutrient is essential in maintaining balance. A vitamin D deficiency will make you feel dizzy more often than normal, making everyday activities like driving and walking difficult. 
  12. Heart Problems: The heart has one of the most important roles in the human body as it circulates blood. Vitamin D is responsible for maintaining blood pressure and keeping blood vessels healthy. Vitamin D deficiency can weaken blood vessels, causing increased blood pressure. Moreover, low vitamin D levels can increase the risk of developing heart disease. 
  13. Sweaty Head: A sweaty head is one of the most typical signs of vitamin D deficiency, as the nutrient is responsible for keeping the body cool. Without vitamin D, you may sweat more than usual.
    This happens because your body cannot work for longer periods, making you tired and sweating more. Sweating can be uncomfortable and lead to problems like dehydration. 
  14. Reduced Cognitive Function: One important sign of vitamin D deficiency is reduced cognitive function. Vitamin D helps keep your brain healthy. Without it, you may face difficulty thinking or remembering things. Furthermore, it can make everyday activities like cooking and driving difficult. 

Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious conditions requiring medical attention. The treatment for vitamin D deficiency involves increasing the levels of vitamin D in the body through a combination of dietary changes, sun exposure, and vitamin D supplements.

The following are some of the ways by which you can increase your vitamin D levels:

  1. Vitamin D Supplements: Getting vitamin D from the diet can be difficult due to the limited sources of this nutrient in dietary form. You can take vitamin D supplements to get enough nutrients. However, consult a doctor before taking supplements, as too much vitamin D can damage the heart and kidneys.
  2. Vitamin D Rich Diet: Another source of vitamin D is through diet. To increase vitamin D levels, you should eat vitamin D-rich foods like fish (salmon, tuna), eggs, beef liver, cheese, milk, and fortified foods.
  3. Lifestyle Changes: It is rightly said, “Prevention is better than cure!” So if you want to prevent experiencing signs of vitamin D deficiency, you must follow these lifestyle changes:
    1. Get Ample Sun Exposure: Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D in the body. You must spend at least 10 to 15 minutes in the sun daily.
      If not daily, you should spend 15 to 30 minutes in the sun two to three times a week to produce the required amount of vitamin D. Engage in outdoor activities like football, cycling, or running to get your daily dose of sunlight. 
    2. Ensure Your Office Has Access to Sunlight: A major portion of your day is spent in your office. A cramped or dimly lit office can result in insufficient sun exposure, leading to the deficiency of this nutrient. Therefore, ensure that your office has ample sunlight and is well-ventilated. 

When to Consult a Doctor?

A lack of vitamin D in the body can result in several complications. It is possible to have vitamin D deficiency with no visible symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned about getting enough vitamin D. You must also consult a doctor if you experience:

  1. Any of the 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency more than three times
  2. Abnormal body symptoms that may look peculiar.

The doctor may recommend regularly checking your vitamin D levels if you have high-risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. 

Takeaway

The signs of vitamin D deficiency are often similar to those of other conditions. Therefore, these symptoms may take a lot of work to notice. For instance, a person experiencing heavy sweating may relate it to heat, obesity, unavailability of ventilation, etc. If you experience any 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency, it is best to consult a doctor for further evaluation. 

We at HexaHealth have a team of professionals who can help you evaluate if you have a vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, we will help you increase vitamin D levels with natural methods like sunlight and diet. To know more about the 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency, contact an expert at HexaHealth TODAY!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency include muscle pain, bone pain, bone loss, recurring illness or infections, tiredness and fatigue, low moods, anxiety or depression, impaired wound healing, hair loss, weight gain, sleeping problems, dizziness, heart problems, sweaty head, and reduced cognitive function.
The symptoms and signs of vitamin D deficiency are usually not noticeable for several months or even years. However, one must look out for the most common symptoms of this nutrient deficiency, such as fatigue, muscle pain, recurring infections, low moods, weight gain, dizziness, etc.
Vitamin D deficiency is the lack of vitamin D in the body. This happens when you do not get enough vitamin D from your diet or sunlight to remain healthy. It is a common worldwide problem that causes issues with bones and muscles.

The two primary causes of vitamin D deficiency include insufficient vitamin D through diet or sunlight and improper absorption or use of the nutrient by your body. Other specific causes of the deficiency include:

  1. Certain medical conditions like obesity, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, kidney disease, etc. 
  2. Weight-loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass surgery
  3. Certain medications, such as steroids, laxatives, cholesterol-lowering drugs, etc. 
The body gets vitamin D from sources like sunlight and diet. Once the body absorbs vitamin D from these sources, it converts it into an active form in the kidneys and liver.
The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Your body creates vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight on the skin. Certain foods also are good sources of vitamin D. These foods include oily fish, liver, red meat, egg yolks, and fortified foods.

The need for vitamin D depends on a person’s age. The recommended amounts of vitamin D for each day in micrograms (mcg) and International Units (IU) are as follows:

  1. Infants (Birth to 12 months): 10 mcg (400 IU)
  2. Children 1 to 70 years old: 15 mcg (600 IU)
  3. Adults 71 years and older: 20 mcg (800 IU)
  4. Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 15mcg (600 IU)

Not getting enough vitamin D can lead to a vitamin D deficiency leading to complications such as:

  1. Osteoporosis and fractures
  2. Hypocalcemia (low blood calcium levels)
  3. Hypophosphatemia (low blood phosphate levels)
  4. Osteomalacia (softening of bones in adults)
  5. Rickets (softening of bones in children)

The best and most effective way to prevent vitamin D deficiency is to ensure getting enough vitamin D through diet and sunlight. You should spend 10-15 minutes in the sunlight daily to get enough vitamin D.

Eating fish, egg yolks, red meat, fortified food, etc., can help prevent vitamin D deficiency. You should consult your doctor for vitamin D supplements if you cannot get the required nutrients through sunlight and diet.

Doctors may order diagnostic tests when you experience signs of vitamin D deficiency. You may also need tests when you have certain medical conditions or a high risk for vitamin D deficiency. 25-hydroxyvitamin-D or 25(OH)D is the most common test performed to check levels of vitamin D. The test can determine if the vitamin D levels in your body are too high or too low.
Yes, vitamin D deficiency is a highly common problem worldwide. Approximately one billion people around the globe have vitamin D deficiency, and about 50% of the population has vitamin D insufficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency can happen in anyone, including infants, children, and adults. However, the risk increases in people who are obese, have higher skin melanin content (darker skin), are older than 65, and people who wear sunscreen when outside.

Vitamin D offers several benefits in terms of health, such as:

  1. It prevents bone diseases such as osteoporosis
  2. It improves symptoms of seasonal depression
  3. It protects you against respiratory infections
  4. It reduces the risk of Type-2 diabetes
  5. It reduces cancer death
  6. It prevents cognitive decline and dementia

Yes, you can get vitamin D from supplements. Supplements are the best way to get enough vitamin D for most people since it is hard to get enough through diet.

The two main vitamin D supplements are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). However, you must consult a doctor about the dosage of the supplements, as too much vitamin D can cause more harm than good.

Vitamin D deficiency can affect your physical and mental health. Some experts agree that vitamin D deficiency can cause depression, and depression is a sign of vitamin D deficiency.

People with depression may have difficulty eating a well-balanced diet, limiting their vitamin D intake. Furthermore, they are more likely to stay indoors, making their body less exposed to sunlight. However, there is no proof of the same.

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for strong bones and muscles. Without vitamin D, your body cannot effectively absorb calcium, essential for bone health. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency affects bone health, making the bones brittle, thin, and soft.
Correcting a vitamin D deficiency with vitamin D supplements can take one to six months. How much and how long it takes for your Vitamin D levels to rise depends on several factors, such as the dose of supplements and your baseline levels.
One important role of vitamin D is stimulating new and old hair follicles. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to hair loss. When insufficient vitamin D is in the body, hair growth can get restricted. Although research is limited, there is evidence that links Vitamin D deficiency to alopecia (an autoimmune disease causing bald patches on the scalp).
Vitamin D deficiency can drastically affect pregnancy. Studies show that vitamin D deficiency can reduce fertility and increase the chances of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency is linked with an increased risk of preeclampsia (a common cause of increased mortality rates in pregnancy).
Fatigue is one of the most common 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency. It is an essential nutrient for cell metabolism and energising your body. Vitamin D deficiency can make you tired and run down for no reason. Without vitamin D, it can become difficult to get through daily activities.

References

All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.


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Updated on : 24 May 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.
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