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Apr 2023

What is vitamin D deficiency? Know about its symptoms, cause, and treatment

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Apr 29, 2023

If you are allergic to milk, follow a vegan diet, and do not get enough sun exposure, then you may develop a deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the very common nutrient deficiencies.

Having vitamin D deficiency can cause a range of complications regarding your teeth, bones and muscles. This vitamin deficiency mostly impacts people who are 65 years or older, or have deeper skin complexion. In this article we will discuss all the necessary information regarding vitamin D deficiency.

Why is vitamin D essential?

Vitamin D is widely known as the sunshine vitamin, and is one of the essential vitamins that our body needs to stay fit. This is a fat soluble vitamin, which our body generates when our skin gets sunlight exposure. Our body can only use the active form of vitamin D, which is calcidiol or 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

The sunshine vitamin has an important role in several body functions. Our body needs vitamin D in order to use phosphorus and calcium to build strong bones and muscle health. In simple words, vitamin D supports the proper amount of calcium in your blood.

Not only bones and muscle health, it is also important for our immune system. According to many studies, vitamin D can also help in preventing cancer as well as other diseases, such as bone loss, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes and depression.

What are the functions of vitamin D?

Vitamin D has multiple functions in our body, such as:

  • Helps to absorb calcium to maintain strong bones health
  • Maintain muscle health
  • Support strong immune system
  • Promotes cell growth
  • Manage blood pressure to support heart health
  • Prevents arthritis and psoriasis

What level is considered to be a deficiency?

The following measurements are a general guide, please consult with your doctor for better interpretation. However, the general interpretation of vitamin D levels are:

  • Normal: 50-125 nmol/l
  • Deficiency level: lower than 30 nmol/l
  • Toxic level: higher than 125 nmol/l

What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency indicates that you do not have a sufficient amount of vitamin D in your body, and this can cause you muscles and bones complications. Vitamin D deficiency is a very common issue across the world. However, many treatments are available to treat this issue.

What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

One may not experience any symptoms of lack of vitamin D, the symptoms may take a few years to appear. However, it is still useful to be aware of the signs of the illnesses that a vitamin D deficiency may bring on.

Vitamin D deficiency may lead to rickets in children. The symptoms of Rickets may include:

  • Bone weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Slow growth pattern
  • Deformities in skeletal
  • Deformities in teeth and joints

Adults with vitamin D deficiency may experience symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle ache or cramps
  • Back pain
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Frequent infection and illness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

What are the reasons for vitamin D deficiency?

There is no particular reason for vitamin D deficiency, but there are several facts that can lead you to deficiency. So, the common factors are:

  • Over the age of 60
  • Having a darker skin complexion
  • Not eating enough fish and dairy products
  • Not spending enough time in the sunlight
  • Having certain medical complexities
  • Consuming certain medications

Using sunscreen can prevent you from skin damage and cancer, but on the other side, it can also make you more prone to vitamin D deficiency.

What diseases can cause vitamin D deficiency?

Medical complexities that can cause vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Obesity: Body mass index which is higher than 30 can contribute to low vitamin D levels. Fat body cells restrict vitamin D from releasing. People with obesity require higher doses of vitamin D supplements to keep the levels maintained.
  • Kidney and liver disease: As mentioned earlier, our body needs to convert vitamin D to its active form to make use of it. Liver and kidney diseases lower the amount of certain essential enzymes which are needed in order to convert vitamin D to its active form. Having a kidney or liver disease may cause you vitamin D deficiency.
  • Certain digestive tract disorders: Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis can resist your intestine to absorb vitamin D through foods and supplements. This can especially occur if the diseases are not treated well.

What medications can cause vitamin D deficiency?

  • Steroids
  • Laxatives
  • Cholesterol reducing drugs
  • Weight loss drugs
  • Tuberculosis drugs
  • Seizure stopping drugs

In case of using these drugs, always make sure to follow your doctor’s guidance.

How vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed?

The test for vitamin D levels is usually not included in the routine health checkup. if you are having symptoms of vitamin d deficiency, then your doctor may suggest you take a vitamin D profile. They also recommend a complete vitamin profile test to measure all the necessary vitamin levels in your body. You can contact a reliable diagnostic center to know vitamin d test price.

How is vitamin D deficiency treated?

To treat vitamin D deficiency, your doctor would recommend certain medications and foods to maintain an adequate vitamin D level. The vitamin D supplements are easily feasible at the local medical shops, but just make sure to use the right doses as your doctor has prescribed.

How to prevent vitamin D deficiency?

The two most effective ways to prevent vitamin D deficiency is, spending more time in the sunlight and eating more vitamin D enriched foods. To prevent low vitamin D levels, try to eat egg yolks, yogurt, beef liver, fatty fish, mushrooms, cod liver oil, fortified milk, cereals and juices.

While spending more time in the sunlight, make sure to limit your total time in the sunlight as it can cause negative impacts as well. You can also take multivitamin tablets to prevent any vitamin deficiency, talk with your doctor for more details.

Nowadays, vitamin D deficiency has become a very common disorder because most of us spend the majority of our time indoors for work. As the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are so subtle that it is nearly undetectable.

Therefore, if you face any bone or muscle related issues, then consult with your doctor without any delay. Because maintaining vitamin D levels is highly beneficial for your general health.