Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a range of serious health conditions so spotting symptoms early is crucial. Some vitamin D deficiency symptoms such as fatigue and depression could also be signs of other issues
Vitamin D deficiency – what does it cause?
Vitamin D helps keeps your bones healthy and strong by aiding the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to:
- Heart disease and high blood pressure
- Immune system disorders
- Cancers such as colon, prostate and breast
- Multiple sclerosis
Where to find Vitamin D?
We’ve written an article detailing the Top 5 Vitamin D food sources.
Mushrooms are a great food source of vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms #1 – weak immune system
While getting ill and picking up colds now and again is normal, frequent illness could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
One study in children showed “a correlation between vitamin D levels and incidence and severity of LRTI [Lower Respiratory Tract Infections]” while another concluded “Vitamin D supplementation was safe and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection”.
A further study concluded that supplementing with vitamin D “significantly increased the probability of staying infection free”
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Vitamin D deficiency symptoms #2 – fatigue
Fatigue is a tricky one because there’s a huge range of reasons why you’re getting tired. But if you’re ticking the big boxes of good sleep, hydration, nutrition and exercise then a vitamin D deficiency might be worth exploring.
Low vitamin D levels have been linked to poor sleep (which of course leads to fatigue). Indeed, one observational study of nurses – renowned for poor sleep habits – found a “high prevalence of fatigue among nurses could be attributed to vitamin D deficiency.”
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms #3 – bone pain
Vitamin D contributes to strong, healthy bones primarily through its ability to aid the absorption of calcium.
This study found a “high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D was observed in patients with LBP [lower back pain]”.
Sore bones and muscles are another sign of a vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms #4 – muscle pain
It’s thought the link between vitamin D and muscle weakness stems from pain signalling pathways. In one study, 71% of participants suffering from chronic muscle pain were also vitamin d deficient.
Another found “insufficient vitamin D plays a role in specific musculoskeletal pain, sarcopenia [muscle mass loss] and falls related to cognitive dysfunction.”
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms #5 – low mood or depression
A bit like fatigue, low mood or depression can be caused by many factors. You might be struggling at work or in your relationship, or simply experienced seasonal affective disorder (SAD). But it’s also a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
One systematic review of observational studies found that “low vitamin D concentration is associated with depression”.
While depression has many causes, one is low levels of vitamin D
Another study randomized 15 participants with SAD to either receive a one-time dose of vitamin D or phototherapy. They reported that depression decreased more in those who received vitamin D. For anyone wishing to read deeper into vitamin D and depression, this is a comprehensive article.
Vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19
There has been a lot of reports suggesting a link between Vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of Covid-19, but it should be noted there’s not yet enough evidence to support this.
What we can assume is that – while Vitamin D is definitely not a treatment for Covid-19, if you’re not getting enough sunlight to top-up your stores, then supplementation can only help.
Get out in the sun – the sun is the very best source of vitamin D so, especially as winter hits, maximise every opportunity to soak up the rays
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms – get tested by your doctor
While all the above are great signs of a vitamin D deficiency, the best way to know for sure is to get tested. Your doctor will look for symptoms and can arrange a blood test to determine for sure.
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