Vitamin D deficiency: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It is estimated that about 900 million people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency. And the coronavirus pandemic have made people more weak and prone to various diseases, that’s why every body is searching how to cure vitamin D deficiency ? Because vitamin D plays a vital role in boosting Immunity.
Here in the article we will discuss various symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, risk factors and how to cure vitamin D deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Frequently becoming sick
Vitamin D plays a very important role in keeping the immune system strong and upto date. If you often become sick with cough and cold you may be lacking vitamin D.
Vitamin D is very essential for bone health, it helps in absorption of calcium. Arthritis, muscle pain, and chronic back pain are all related to vitamin D deficiency.
Tiredness and Fatigue
Tiredness can be due to various underlying condition in which vitamin D deficiency is one of the cause. Various studies conducted on various individual with fatigue problem proved that vitamin D deficiency is linked to prolonged fatigue and tiredness.
Hair loss is multiple causes, from bad hygiene to using wrong products but severe hair loss is also related to vitamin D.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder, which is leads to hair-loss. Alopecia is linked to rickets, which is caused due to vitamin D deficiency.
Anxiety and depression
Studies have shown that giving vitamin D to people who are deficient helps improve depression and anxiety. Various researches have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression, particularly in adults above 50.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include muscle weakness, pain, fatigue and anxiety.
Causes of vitamin D deficiency
You have dark skin
The melanin pigment in skin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D during sunlight exposure, skin converts cholesterol into vitamin D. Studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Have less exposure to sunlight
Body can make its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. If your exposure to sunlight is not enough everyday then you can lack in vitamin D. Try to taken 10-15 min of morning sun rays.
Digestive system not absorbing vitamin D
Certain intestinal problems and disease can limit to proper absorption of vitamin D from the diet, such as celiac disease.
In various researches it is shown that as we age our body ability is decreased to synthesize vitamin D from exposure to the sunlight. There can be as much as 30% reduced production over the age of 70. While age is a cause, it doesn’t cause as much of a deficiency as the other risk factors.
Daily intake of vitamin D
Various researches suggest that vitamin D recommended intake is 400–800 IU/day or 10–20 micrograms. But in some studies 1000IU to 3000IU is needed to maintain healthy blood levels.
Treatments or cure vitamin D deficiency
The total amount of vitamin D that is needed to cure a deficiency will depend on how critical the deficiency is and the medical conditions of the person. The month of year will also effect the amount of vitamin D needed. Because, if the deficient person is on the summer months and heading towards the winter month he would need good amount of suppliment to cure the disease but if he is heading towards summer months then small amounts will also work, i.e sunlight helps in producing vitamin D. Anything in ample will only do harm, and vitamin D being a fat soluble vitamin when taken in overdose amount can damage kidneys and liver.
Vitamin D2 and D3 are the two main forms of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is present mostly in plants, while D3 comes mainly from animal sources. D3 is most preferred form of vitamin D, and it is mostly given in deficiency. Various researches have shown D3 helps in overcoming the deficiency more better than D2.
Supplements can be taken on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis depends upon the severity of deficiency or amount of supplements. It is always recommended to have your blood tested after one to two months of taking the supplement to check that the viatmin D levels are going up.
A Person specific need for vitamin D will depend on various factors, including their age, sunlight exposure, diet, and health factors.
If a blood test shows that a person has vitamin D deficiency, the doctor is likely to advise them to increase their intake with suppliments.
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements suggests the following intake each day:
- 0–12 months: 400 IU (10 micrograms [mcg])
- 1–70 years: 600 IU (15 mcg)
- 71 years and over: 800 IU (20 mcg)
Note it is always recommended to take vitamin D suppliments with foods rich in fats. It is seen that if vitamin D suppliments are taken with food rich in fat then absorbtion of vitamin D is much more for say 10-20% more in the blood, compared if taken with low fat foods.
Foods rich in vitamin D
Foods rich in vitamin D are:
- Fatty fish, like tuna, and salmon
- Dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
- Red meat liver
- Chicken fat
- Cod liver oil
How to prevent vitamin D deficiency ?
To prevent a vitamin D deficiency you should eat foods that are rich in vitamin D and spend some time outside in the sunlight each day for at least 10-15 minutes.
Some tips for avoiding a deficiency of vitamin D include:
Healthy body weight
Running, cycling or walking can be very beneficial as it helps in burning excessive fats and it also expose you to sunlight.
Treating medical conditions
People with health conditions, specially of the stomach find it difficult to absorb vitamin D from food. No matter how much vitamin D they consume it doesn’t get to the blood streame, so it is very important to treat the underlying health condition to cure the deficiency.
Prevention is better than cure, if anybody have some hereditary health conditions related to Vitamin D, then you should also get diagnosed or talk to your family doctor about it.
There are various causes of vitamin D deficiency, from health conditions to less exposure to sunlight. Every disease is treatable, and so is vitamin D deficiency. You should always first get tested, and talk to your doctor about why you are lacking vitamin D. Based on the examination your doctor may prescribe you vitamin D tablets, or a proper diet chat which food to eat to increase vitamin D intake.