Vitamin D Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
The human body produces vitamin D, which is also called the sunshine vitamin when the human skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D can be found in food, such as fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolks.
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Vitamin D manages your calcium levels, bones, and gut. Vitamin D also helps the cells communicate. Unlike most vitamins, vitamin D functions as a hormone, and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in people. There are an estimated billion people worldwide that have low levels of vitamin D in their blood.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
- Consumption: Not consuming enough vitamin D from food. One of the reasons could be following a strict vegan diet because most of the natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based.
- Not enough exposure to sunlight.
- Dark-toned skin: The pigment melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure.
- Old age: Your kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form.
- Unhealthy diet: Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D.
- Obesity: People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
For many people, the signs are subtle. Sometimes vitamin D deficiency comes without any symptoms at all. Some noticeable symptoms may be bone and muscle weakness.
Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include:
- Bone issues: Thinning or brittle bones, osteoporosis, or frequent bone fractures.
- Muscle weakness: mainly if there is an unexplained change in muscle strength.
- Change in mood: People who have low vitamin D can experience anxiety or depression.
- Chronic pain: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in supporting bone, muscle, and cell health.
- High or rising blood pressure.
- Exhaustion: Even with enough sleep you can still feel exhausted.
- Decreased endurance.
- Unexplained infertility.
Vitamin D Deficiency Treatments
You can treat vitamin D deficiencies by consuming more vitamin D. You can acquire it through diet and supplements. A concentration of fewer than 20 nanograms per millilitre is generally considered inadequate, requiring special treatment.
Your doctor might also suggest increasing your exposure to natural sunlight. The risks of sun exposure might be higher than the chances of vitamin D deficiency. The risk of sunburn is highly prevalent in people with a history of skin cancer. People with pale or ashen skin are also at high risk. So never forget to use sunscreen whenever you are outside the house.
Spending 15 – 20 minutes a day in the sun and eating vitamin D rich food can improve your deficiency.
If you have symptoms of vitamin D deficiency or have unexplained illnesses or nutritional deficiencies, you should request a test for vitamin D deficiency. You can now book a general practitioner consultation online at Okadoc.
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