When the level of vitamin D in your body is low or deficient, it can cause many symptoms of chronic disease. This is because vitamin D deficiency affects your bones, immune function, and insulin levels.
Exposure to sunlight is actually the most effective way to receive vitamin D and the easiest way for your body to absorb it. Vitamin D functions as a hormone, and when the skin is exposed to sunlight, it uses cholesterol in your body to make the vitamin. You have to leave off the sun protection lotions for 10-20 minutes to get the benefits, as it will not be able to absorb past the lotions.
You can take supplements to assist in bringing up your level, but they are harder for some people to absorb into their cells. If you’re having trouble getting enough vitamin D, this is how you can tell.
20. Frequently Sick or Catching Every Cold or Flu
If you are getting sick often, then your immune system does not have enough vitamin D to fight off these bugs. Studies have shown a link between low vitamin D levels and respiratory tract infections, like colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
19. Excessive Fatigue
Yes, fatigue could mean many things, but if it happens all the time it could be low vitamin D. Studies have found that many pre-menopausal women with extreme fatigue have a deficiency in vitamin D.
18. Bone Loss
Many older people have bone density loss and are told to take more calcium, but they probably also need vitamin D to absorb the calcium. There is a strong link between menopausal/post-menopausal women with low mineral bone density and low vitamin D. It is important to preserve bone mass as you age to prevent diseases like osteomalacia.
17. Sweaty Head
In the past, doctors used to ask mothers if their infant’s head was sweating more than normal. This can be an early sign that your baby may be vitamin D deficient, especially if the mother also has low levels. If breastfeeding, it is good to eat foods high in vitamin D. Even adults can be affected if you notice yourself sweating during a time that is not normal.
If you live in a place with little sunlight, this lack could cause mild to moderate depression, because this essential nutrient helps the brain’s neurotransmitters produce serotonin, your happy hormone. In places like Alaska or Oregon that sees less sun, doctors tell patients to buy lightboxes, devices that emit therapeutic light equal to natural sunlight.Related: 8 Signs That Osteoporosis May Be Ravaging Your Bones
15. Female Infertility
One of the leading causes of infertility in women is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can result from vitamin D deficiency. Judy Simon, registered dietician, and nutritionist, says, “In the fertility world of the Northwest, we get a vitamin D baseline on all our fertility patients and we see many that are deficient”.
14. Heart Conditions
Articles published by the National Institutes of Health that have shown that vitamin D deficiency can be a leading cause of congestive heart failure.
13. Hair Loss
Hair loss could be from several nutritional shortages, but recent studies have identified two types of hair loss, associated with low vitamin D levels. One is female pattern hair loss, referring to an overall thinning of scalp hair; the second is diffuse hair loss from all over the body.Related: Top 13 Foods to Promote Hair Growth
People with lupus are actually photosensitive to the sun. This increases their risk of low vitamin D levels and could increase the damage done by this disease, resulting in more morbidity of people with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
11. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Current evidence has found there is an increased risk of developing MS when there is a vitamin D deficiency. There is also a higher prevalence of MS diagnoses in countries further away from the equator, where sunlight is the strongest. People with increased vitamin D levels have found fewer relapses with MS, less disability, and fewer lesions in the brain.
10. Skin Cancer
The link between the sun and skin cancer is typically not seen as a positive one. Radiation from the sun is said to be the biggest environmental risk factor for non-melanoma cancer. But some believe that you still need to get your sun exposure to be able to receive the vitamin D your body needs and at the same time protect your skin from damage. Research has shown a preventative effect of vitamin D on breast, prostate, and colon cancers.Related: 11 Unusual Places Skin Cancer Can Appear
9. Childhood Deficiency of Vitamin D
It has been known that children born to vitamin D deficient mothers are at increased risk for type 1 diabetes, and it is associated with more asthma and allergies. Other findings say it can cause a delay in teething, breathing issues, muscle spasms, and an increase of rickets in these children.
8. Brain Health, Dementia and Alzheimer’s
There are many vitamin D receptors in brain tissue, and they increase nerve growth in the brain. So vitamin D is very important for brain function, mental health, and preventing degenerative brain disorders. Seniors with low levels of D vitamin could double their risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
7. Adolescent Behavior Problems
Children and preteens, from ages 5-12, having more aggressive and “rule-breaking” behaviors have been found to have low vitamin D levels. It even appears to increase emotional issues and peer relationships.
6. Chronic Pain
It may not be noticeable right away until it becomes more severe, but muscle, back and bone pain which cause you to have difficulty standing and walking can all be related to low vitamin D levels.
5. New Studies about Obesity and Vitamin D
A new study at North Carolina State University involving zebrafish and vitamin D showed that they had an increase in both the size and number of fat cells, meaning that vitamin D deficiency influences metabolic health. This seems to disrupt the normal balance between growth and fat cell accumulation. This is not quite understood yet as to why it happens and will need further research.
4. Oral Health
Vitamin D decreases seem to lead to many dental problems. Teeth are bones and of course, you need both vitamin D and calcium to work together to prevent bone loss. Local inflammation of bone-like teeth, jaw, and even gums causes periodontitis.
3. Skin Absorption Issues
Many darker-skinned individuals have trouble due to greater amounts of melanin pigment in their epidermal layer of skin. This reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from the sun.
2. Gut Issues
Vitamin D is fat-soluble and depends on the gut’s ability to absorb vitamin D, but some medical conditions prevent this.
For instance, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and liver disease are all usually connected to a deficiency in vitamin D. Also, those who have had bariatric surgery are less capable of absorption, since the surgery bypasses the small intestine, where vitamin D would normally be absorbed.
It has been found that vitamin D may be linked to insulin resistance. The body seems to respond better on the cell level to insulin when adequate amounts of vitamin D are present. It allows the beta cells in the pancreas to stay healthy and function better, says Jennifer Smith of Integrated Diabetes Service.
It is estimated that vitamin D deficiency is present in over one billion people worldwide, and over 40% of Americans are affected by this deficiency. Even when you are in range on blood tests, if it’s on the low end, you can still have many of these symptoms.Related: Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Many Diseases