In our school days, we were taught that a deficiency of Vitamin D causes rickets. What we didn’t know was rickets is the most severe form of this deficiency during childhood which can delay growth and lead to visible skeletal deformities. And this is quite rare.
But Vitamin D deficiency, especially in the last few years has become very common. A recent study conducted by The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reported an astoundingly high figure of vitamin D prevalence worldwide. Approximately 1 billion individuals worldwide, nearly 15% of the world’s population, are vitamin D deficient or insufficient.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, and poor pregnancy outcomes.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
According to the Vitamin D Council, symptoms of vitamin D deficiency 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.
Here are some signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency you should look out for. If you experience one or more of them it would be a good idea to get your levels checked.
Muscle weakness and body pain
Body aches and muscle weakness are caused due to deficiency of vitamin D. But then, body aches are also caused due to many other reasons. If you are experiencing more pains than normal, for long periods of time then chances could be that you are vitamin D deficient. Also look out for pain in a specific area that continues to linger. Constant back pain (upper or lower back) is another symptom for this deficiency.
If you are experiencing respiratory problems suddenly, having no history in your childhood, there is a high chance that you are vitamin D deficient. Breathlessness, short small breaths, inability to take full breaths or asthma are signs that point toward getting your vitamin D levels checked.
Depression or mood swings
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin and is essential to help you be in a good mood and smiling. According to the Vitamin D council, brain’s neurotransmitters produce serotonin, which affects our feelings of happiness. Studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with episodes of depression. Also, reduced levels serotonin could result in frequent mood swings and crankiness or wanting to snap at people without reason.
Research suggests that vitamin D plays an important role in the development of PCOS which is one of the causes of infertility in women. Studies have also found vitamin D deficiency to more prevalent among men with low semen production, quality, and motility, along with lower inhibin B levels.
If you feel that you are falling sick more often and your immune system is getting weak, a deficiency of vitamin D could be one of the reasons. 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. However, a lack of vitamin D leaves you vulnerable to constant attacks and health problems.
Vitamin D is important for the body to create energy. So, if your levels are less than normal, you will feel that you tire out easier. You would feel tired and weak all day even though your day does not involve any physically strenuous activities. Regular activities like walking a few floors up on stairs or strolling a few meters (that were your normal activities) will make you feel exhausted.
Research also points to high blood pressure and anxiety attacks to be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
A sudden increase in hair loss or quality of hair is also one of the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Severe vitamin D deficiency causes softening of bones which causes pain and increases of osteoporosis.
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