Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a vitamin that is very important for our body. You can get it from food and supplements. It is known that exposure to the sun also stimulates vitamin D production in the skin.
Vitamin D play several important functions in the body:
- promoting calcium absorption
- maintaining normal calcium and phosphate levels
- promoting bone and cell growth
- reducing inflammation
Vitamin D deficiency is amazingly common in the US, but most of the Americans mistakenly believe they aren’t at risk because they consume vitamin D fortified foods – such as milk.
Vitamin D deficiency doesn’t always cause clearly symptoms. When it does, some of the them may include:
- difficulty thinking clearly
- bone pain
- frequent bone fractures
- muscle weakness
- soft bones that may result in deformities
- unexplained fatigue
Without enough vitamin D, your body can go out of balance
This condition can cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen. The connection of vitamin D and insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and immune system, and how these correlate to heart disease and cancer, is a subject of different researches.
Signs You May Be Vitamin D Deficient
You’re 50 or Older
It`s known that as you get older your skin doesn’t make as much vitamin D in response to sun exposure. Together with this, your kidneys are becoming less efficient at converting vitamin D into the form used by your body and older adults tend to spend more time inside (i.e. getting even less sun exposure and therefore vitamin D).
You Feel “Blue”
Serotonin, the brain hormone which is directly connected with the mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light and falls with decreased sun exposure. In 2006, scientists discovered the effects of vitamin D on the mental health of 80 elderly patients and found those individuals with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more predisposed to be depressed than those who received healthy doses.
You’re Overweight or Obese
It is also known that vitamin D is a fat-soluble, hormone-like vitamin, which actually means that the body fat acts as a “sink” by collecting it. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re therefore likely going to need more vitamin D than a slimmer person. And the same remain for people with higher body weights due to muscle mass.
One of the first and most recognizable signs of vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head. Physicians usually are asking new mothers about head sweating in their newborns for this very reason. Excessive sweating in newborns due to neuromuscular irritability is still described as a common, early symptom of lack of vitamin D.
How is Vitamin D Deficiency Treated?
Doctors mostly treat vitamin D deficiencies with prescription or recommendation of vitamin D supplements. The amount you should take usually depends on how low your vitamin D levels are. For example, some people may reach their vitamin D intake by taking a multivitamin. These usually have between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D with each serving.
Foods that are naturally high in vitamin D include:
- fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna
- egg yolks
- fish liver oils
It’s also possible to increase vitamin D levels by going outside more often. About 15 minutes of sun exposure will be enough to build up vitamin D levels.