Vitamin D is crucial for immunity, hormone production, and bone health, among other areas.
Many people, however, are deficient in vitamin D. They don’t get enough vitamin D through sunlight or dietary sources, leading to various symptoms.
Today, we’re highlighting some of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency – and some of the best ways to solve vitamin D deficiency.
How Vitamin D Deficiency Works
Vitamin D is a crucial mineral for overall health and wellness. If you don’t get enough vitamin D daily, then you may develop vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is unique because your skin produces vitamin D using sunlight. As sunlight hits your skin, it activates vitamin D production.
As you get older, your skin doesn’t convert sunlight into vitamin D as efficiently. People who have darker skin, and people over 50, are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than younger people and those with fair-color skin.
Why Vitamin D is Important
As Cleveland Clinic explains, vitamin D is linked to crucial effects throughout your body – from strong bones and calcium absorption to effective hormone production, among other benefits.
Here are some of the reasons you need to get your daily intake of vitamin D:
Keep Bones Strong: Vitamin D is crucial for strong bones. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, particularly when young, then you may develop conditions like rickets, leading to soft and weak bones. Adults, meanwhile, may develop a similar condition called osteomalacia, or a softening of the bones. Your body also needs vitamin D to assist calcium and phosphorus, which have more of a direct role in bone development.
Help with Calcium Absorption: Even if you’re getting enough calcium per day, your body may struggle to absorb calcium because of low vitamin D levels. You need vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Calcium is important for more than just bones: it assists with everything from nerve function to digestive health.
Immunity: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in immune function by supporting your immune system in various ways. Studies show people with low levels of vitamin D tend to have weaker immune systems than people with sufficient levels of vitamin D. Other studies have connected vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of serious infections.
Hormone Production: Many hormones are linked to vitamin D. Many men who are deficient in testosterone, for example, also tend to be deficient in vitamin D. Studies show getting adequate vitamin D is linked to balanced, normal hormone levels. That’s why many people notice mood changes when vitamin D deficient: vitamin D deficiency impacts hormones, and hormones play a crucial role in mood.
Health Conditions Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency
We know vitamin D supports a range of benefits in the body – from bone health to hormone production to immunity. However, lack of vitamin D could also contribute to serious health conditions.
Studies show people with vitamin D deficiency tend to have a higher risk of developing health conditions like:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Immune system disorders
- Balance issues, which could lead to falls in older adults
- Certain types of cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
Best Sources of Vitamin D
Fortunately, vitamin D deficiency is easy for most people to avoid. A small amount of sunlight per day, for example, can give you more than enough vitamin D. Or, some people take a vitamin D supplement or adjust their diet.
The best sources of vitamin D include:
Sun Exposure: Experts recommend getting 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure 3 to 5 days per week for optimal vitamin D levels.
Food Sources: Some of the best food sources of vitamin D include fish like salmon, herring, sardines, canned tuna, and cod liver oil. Egg yolks and mushrooms are also rich with vitamin D. Alternatively, some foods and beverages are fortified with vitamin D for health benefits – like cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereal, and oatmeal.
Vitamin D Supplements: If sunlight exposure isn’t an option (say, at far northern latitudes or during the winter), then vitamin D supplements are an effective replacement.
Avoid Getting Too Much Vitamin D
Some people get too little vitamin D, while others get too much vitamin D. Yes, you can get too much vitamin D, which could lead to symptoms of its own.
If you get too much vitamin D, then you could develop vitamin D toxicity. The main issue with vitamin D toxicity is hypercalcemia, or a buildup of calcium in your blood.
Symptoms of hypercalcemia include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent urination
- Increased risk of calcium stones in the kidneys
If you notice any of the symptoms above, then reduce your vitamin D intake or see a doctor.
Most experts recommend a daily value (DV) of 800 IU of vitamin D per day. However, some argue for much higher doses of vitamin D. Recommended doses also vary based on age and gender.
Final Word: Take a Science Nutrition Lab Blood Test to Compare Vitamin D to an Optimal Range
At Science Nutrition Lab, we specialize in a unique type of blood testing called Science Based Nutrition.
An ordinary lab compares your bloodwork to a random sampling of people who recently visited that lab.
With Science Based Nutrition, we compare your bloodwork to an optimal range based on your age, gender, and physiology. This can deliver more customized insights into your health and wellness.
Order a Science Nutrition Lab blood test and consultation today. Your blood changes before symptoms appear – and a single blood test can reveal crucial insight about vitamin D deficiency and other issues.