Vitamin D Deficiency: Is It Really a Problem – and How to Absorb It

Updated on May 7th, 2020
Vitamin-D

The Sunshine Vitamin Also known as VITAMIN D is an essential vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout the body. Lacking in vitamin D could have severe impacts on the body, and if you find the following symptom in your mane, it could be a sure sign you are deficient. What is it? Read more to know it.

Hypovitaminosis:

Hypovitaminosis is another name for  Vitamin D deficiency. It is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency worldwide, affecting people of all age groups.

Functions more like a Hormone!

Vitamin D works uniquely than other vitamins in that it functions more like a hormone! And every single cell in the body has a receptor for it! Vitamin D flows through the bloodstream and into cells, telling them to turn genes on or off. And every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D! The body can make it from cholesterol when the skin is exposed to sunlight.

Very Vital and Essential Fat-Soluble Vitamin:

Vitamin D is a very vital and essential fat-soluble vitamin that’s needed for muscles, healthy bones, and a robust immune system. Low levels are related to a range of conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis,  diabetes, cancer, and depression. If you’re not getting enough, it’s essential to know what could be causing this and what you can do to increase your levels.

Critical for Healthy Development and Growth of Teeth and Bones

It is a fat-soluble vitamin, including vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. This crucial vitamin is most vital for facilitating normal immune system function and is critical for healthy development and growth of teeth and bones and, as well as improved resistance against health issues.

Reduces Symptoms of Depression!

depression
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Moreover, it is known to help weight loss, reduce symptoms of depression, and keeps the body’s functionality in check! And, if not taken care of, vitamin D deficiency can wreak havoc on your health. Here are some vital signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency that you need to look out for.

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?

The leading cause of low vitamin D levels is a lack of exposure to sunlight. Your body can make all the vitamin D you need. But this can only occur when your skin is exposed to sunlight. So during autumn and winter, when sunlight exposure is at an all-time low, it’s really common for your vitamin D levels to drop — putting you at risk of developing a deficiency(1).

Absorption of Vitamin D

You can absorb vitamin D from foods like liver, oily fish, egg yolks, and fortified food, but most people don’t get enough this way.

Various Factors Can Lead to Vitamin D Deficiency:

Using an excess of sunscreen and blocking the sunlight to reach your skin.

  • Living in a location that has a high percentage of pollution.
  • Spending more time indoors.
  • Not eating vitamin D-rich foods.
  • Living in buildings that block sunlight.

You might also be at an increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency if you:

  • Are vegan or vegetarian
  • Have darker skin
  • Are elderly
  • Always wear sunscreen
  • Stay a lot indoors
  • Cover up most of your skin outdoors
  • Worldwide, 1 billion people are thought to be vitamin D deficient.

How to Measure Your Vitamin D Levels?

You can measure your vitamin D levels at home with a finger-prick blood test, or you can go to your GP. This test will measure your levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, and the reference ranges are:

  • 50-100 nmol/L is standard — around 75 nmol/L is considered optimal
  • 30-50 nmol/L is insufficient
  • less than 30 nmol/L is deficient

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Common signs of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Getting sick often
  • Feeling tired
  • Aching bones and joints
  • Weak bones — increasing your risk of osteoporosis
  • Poor wound healing
  • Weak muscles
  • Depression
vitamin D deficiency symptoms
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How to Treat Vitamin D Deficiency?

While one can get vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight, certain foods are said to be rich in calcium, and vitamin D. Here are some essential vitamin D-rich foods that you should add in your diet.

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Foods which contain or are fortified with vitamin D include:

Oily fish: Salmon, Trout,  Herring, pilchards, sardines, tuna, kippers.

Cod liver oil: This contains huge amounts of vitamin D and should not be taken in association with vitamin D supplements.

Fortified dairy products: Cheese and dairy-based spreads can be fortified with vitamin D. It is very important to check the nutritional information on the packet to ascertain the vitamin D content of individual products. The infant formula is primarily fortified with vitamin D.

Fortified soy products: Soy-rich products such as soy yogurt and soy milk can be fortified with vitamin D. Check the nutritional details on the box to know the vitamin D content of individual products.

Natural animal products: Meat, Raw milk, and egg yolk are sources of vitamin D.

During spring and summer, extra sun exposure can help to boost your vitamin D levels. If you’re out for long periods in the sun, it’s essential to cover up or wear sun protection to protect yourself from sun damage and skin cancer.

During autumn and winter, Public Health England advises that everyone should consider taking a ten mcg daily vitamin D supplement from October to March. And if you’re more at-risk, they recommend taking them year-round. The recommended doses for at-risk groups include:

  • 8.5-10 mcg daily for breastfed babies from birth to 1 year
  • 10 mcg daily for children aged 1-4 years
  • 10 mcg daily for at-risk adults — for example, if you’re elderly or have darker skin

Conclusion:

Ensure you have enough vitamin D-rich foods to lead a healthy life. Consult a physician if you see these symptoms to ensure proper medications and advice.

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