Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that has a regulating effect on various body processes. Essentially, this vitamin is like a hormone as every single cell in the human body has a receptor for it. Also, unlike other nutrients, vitamin D is one nutrient that can be produced in the body itself. The body generates vitamin D from cholesterol when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Apart from the sun, this vitamin can also be obtained from plenty of food items and dietary supplements. It is seen that a lot of people suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
This is primarily because they don’t expose themselves to the sun and getting the nutrients from diet alone is very difficult. Thus, the levels of this vitamin in the body dips, resulting in a deficiency.
In this article, we will understand the most common signs of vitamin D deficiency along with the biggest risk factors. So, let’s begin.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Your immune system is your body’s defense mechanism against germs and viruses. Without a strong immune system, your body will not be able to fight infections and become prone to falling sick easily.
Vitamin D interacts with the cells that form the immune system. And thus, a deficiency in the vitamin may have a huge impact on your immunity. With a weak immunity, you will become predisposed to several ailments, including cold and flu, allergies, asthma, fever, eczema, and many more.
Low levels of vitamin D in the body directly correspond to fatigue and tiredness. According to research, vitamin D helps to boost energy levels and keeps you active for a long time.
So if you suffer from vitamin D deficiency, you are most likely to feel exhausted in the middle of the day. Some people also experience frequent headaches due to this deficiency.
One of the greatest benefits of vitamin D is that it helps to promote bone health. And thus, its deficiency may lead to excessive pain in the bones and joints.
The nutrient helps to increase bone mass and prevent bone loss from occurring. It also increases the absorption of calcium in the body that further helps to maintain good bone health. A study conducted in 2012 linked a vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Most people associate hair loss with high levels of stress. However, hair loss may also be due to nutritional deficiencies in the body. Consuming a diet that is low in vitamin D may cause severe hair fall, especially in women.
Vitamin D deficiency is also believed to have a relationship with alopecia. This is an autoimmune disease that results in severe hair loss in people. But currently, there is not much evidence to back this claim.
According to research, a lower level of vitamin D is directly related to an increased risk of depression. And this is due to the presence of vitamin D receptors in the brain.
These receptors have an anti-inflammatory effect that protects a person from feeling depressed or anxious. Consequently, lower levels of the vitamin contribute to depression. That’s why many doctors suggest taking supplements to improve the condition.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in regulating the growth of several compounds that form new tissues in the body. But if the levels of this vitamin fall, it hinders the ability of the body to produce new tissues and this may contribute to slow wound healing.
So if you feel that your wounds are taking unusually long to heal, you must get yourself checked for vitamin D deficiency.
Common Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency
Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Being an older adult
- Suffering from obesity
- Having darker skin tone
- Not consuming vitamin D-rich foods, such as fatty fish
- Living in a region that gets very little sunlight
- Staying indoors most of the time
- Suffering from a chronic liver or kidney disease or hyperparathyroidism
- Having gastric bypass surgery
Vitamin D deficiency is a common phenomenon. But most people remain unaware of it for a very long time. So, make sure to consult a healthcare professional as soon as you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms. Also, make sure to enrich your diet with vitamin D-rich foods.