Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Are you suffering from weight gain, muscle cramps, joint pain, fatigue, mood swings and depression? Are you in a 9 to 5 office job, with hardly any exposure to sunlight? In case you are nodding yes for any of these cases, then they are high chances that you are suffering from Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”. Our exposure to the sun stimulates the production of Vitamin D in the skin. It is one of the most powerful healing chemicals in the body. Vitamin D aids in some of the important functions in the body. These include:
- Promotion of calcium absorption in the body
- Maintaining normal calcium and phosphate levels
- Promoting bone and cell growth
- Reducing inflammation
Its deficiency can cause havoc in the body. Though the symptoms are subtle, with no life-threatening consequences, its deficiency can cause short term or long term complications interfering with your day to day living.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms In Adults
Suffering from chronic fatigue can be an early sign of the deficiency. If you feel low in energy practically every day, even after a good night sleep, it is time to go for a vitamin deficiency test.
Low vitamin D and weight gain are linked together. The reason behind is that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble, hormone-like vitamin. This means the body fat acts as a ‘sink’ by collecting it. Hence, if the vitamin levels are low, then there are chances that the person will tend to gain weight.
Depression is more common in people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood. The reason behind this is that the hippo-campus and other areas of the brain involved in regulating the mood contain vitamin D receptors. Low levels may affect the ability of these regions to function normally.
Hair follicles can be affected by the Vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D is responsible for activating the cells within the hair shaft. The healthier the cells, the healthier the hair shaft. Lack of it can lead to a vitamin D deficiency hair loss.
General aches and pain
Vitamin D deficiency causes the bones to become weak and brittle. Hence, the patients experience body aches and pain.
It is a well-known fact that calcium should be taken along with vitamin. This is because vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains blood calcium levels to enable normal mineralization of the bones. It also prevents abnormally low blood calcium levels that can then lead to tetany. Vitamin D insufficiency can lead to secondary hyperparathyroidism (overly active parathyroid glands) that causes increased bone loss, osteopenia, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, and increased fracture risk.
It has been noted that individuals with low level of vitamin D are at an increased risk of upper respiratory and lower respiratory tract infection.
Other Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include
- Overall weakness
- Excessive perspiration
- Weakened immune system
- Periodontal diseases
- Rickets in children
- Multiple sclerosis
- The common vitamin d deficiency symptoms in men include prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
Any body showing symptoms similar to the above should get a vitamin deficiency test. These are available online also.
Vitamin D Test
There are two vitamin D tests markers which are performed to check the level of vitamin in the blood. These are checked with the help of blood test.
- 25(OH) D – 25(OH)D is the better marker of overall Vitamin D status. It is this marker that is most strongly associated with overall health.
Note: To prepare for the test, it is advised to not eat for four hours prior to giving the sample.
Levels of Vitamin D in blood
|<30 ng/ml||30-70 ng/ml||70-100 ng/ml||>100 ng/ml|
Natural sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be received from:
- Sun: This is the best natural source of vitamin D. Early morning walks are highly recommended. It is a great way of obtaining Vit D3 and also reversing the deficiency symptoms.
- Lightbox: If getting out in the sun is difficult than one should consider sitting in front of a light box that supplies 10,000 lux of full-spectrum light for 30 minutes every morning.
- Fatty fish
- Fortified milk
- Orange juice
- Egg yolks
- Fortified cereals
- Cod liver oil
- Take supplements
The best and the most efficient pharmacy is within your own system. So just keep calm, soak up the sun and get you mind on your Vitamin D!