10 Surprising Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Have you noticed that vitamin D has been a major topic in the news lately? Also called the sunshine vitamin, it is essential to your general health, primarily because it boosts your immune system’s ability to fight infections. Several studies have shown that it helps the body to recover faster. Basically, that’s the reason why vitamin D got so famous during the coronavirus pandemic.

As you probably know already, vitamin D is closely linked to sun exposure. That’s why many people tend to have a deficiency during the winter months. For instance, a study has pointed out that about 42% of Americans are deficient. But before we talk some more about this, let’s see what this vitamin does exactly.

To be able to absorb calcium, your body needs vitamin D to help bone health and growth. Although it hasn’t been shown that vitamin D deficiency could lead to certain diseases, some studies have found a few links between high levels of vitamin D and a lower risk of disease. Here are other benefits:

  • Improves muscle strength.
  • Helps to keep both your bones and your heart healthy.
  • Boosts your mood.
  • Improves your sleep.

The recommended daily amount is 400-800 IU, but many experts believe that a higher daily intake is optimal.

Now, if you usually feel exhausted and worn out and you don’t know why, keep reading to find out other signs of sunshine vitamin deficiency to check whether you have it or not.

Vitamin D and sleep disorder
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1. Sleep disorder

Even though the connection between vitamin D levels and sleep is yet unclear, several studies have shown that people who have a vitamin D deficiency have a lower quality of sleep. So you cannot only blame the lack of vitamin D for having trouble sleeping. BUT, at the same time, doctors agree that there is a widespread distribution of vitamin D receptors in those areas of the human brain that control the sleep-wake cycle.

Also, some research has shown that this key vitamin helps to stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain. Not having adequate serotonin production affects the melatonin levels, thus your body will find it hard to perceive the signal to fall asleep at night.

It’s important to understand that a vitamin D deficiency may not be the only reason why you cannot sleep at night. If you think there’s a chance you may be deficient in this vitamin, talk to your doctor and do a vitamin D blood test.

2. Fatigue

It’s a vicious cycle. If you have a hard time sleeping or a disrupted sleep, then you’ll definitely wake up tired and feel sleepy during the day. Your energy levels are heavily influenced by many factors such as nutrition, sleep habits, diet, and medical conditions.

A 2014 study showed that out of about one hundred Americans who struggled with chronic fatigue, 77.2% had vitamin D insufficiency. However, their fatigue signs improved considerably after increasing the patients’ vitamin D levels.

If you’re experiencing fatigue, especially if there is no clear cause, you should have your vitamin levels checked. Many people have a vitamin deficiency and blame their exhaustion on the hustle and bustle of daily life.

3. Sore bones & bone loss

Vitamin D is well-known for its connection to bone strength. Its levels are linked to bone pain including discomfort in the back, ribs, legs, and joints. This happens especially in older people as they may tend to have weak and soft bones.

Basically, low levels of this key vitamin affect bone density and increase the risk of fractures. This condition is known as osteomalacia in medical terms and it manifests as bone pain, deformities, dental abnormalities, and muscle spams. Furthermore, sunshine vitamin deficiency also raises the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Here are 14 Things You Didn’t Know About Osteoporosis.

Aching muscles and vitamin D
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4. Aching muscles

Muscle soreness is frequently difficult to diagnose. However, data suggest that a lack of the sunshine vitamin may be a contributing factor.

An older study revealed that around 71% of Americans with chronic pain were found to be vitamin D deficient. This nutrient receptor is found in pain-sensing nerve cells called nociceptors. The sunshine vitamin may also play a role in your body’s pain signaling pathways leading to a high risk of chronic pain.

Another study showed how a single dose of vitamin D lowered the growing pain intensity in children by an average of 57%.

However, there are multiple root causes for sore muscles. Once you seek medical advice, your doctor will know exactly what to do next.

5. Weak immune system

With the pandemic starting in 2020, experts have been paying attention to the human’s body immune system and its response to coronavirus. As a result, various studies mentioned vitamin D as a supporting tool for the body’s defense. Basically, this vitamin keeps bacteria and viruses at bay. That said, it’s no surprise that many doctors recommend taking the sunshine vitamin to boost your immune system.

Vitamin D supplements may lower your chances of getting a respiratory infection like bronchitis, pneumonia, or the common cold. So, if you keep getting sick all the time, it could be due to a lack of the sunshine vitamin.

6. Hair loss

Although stress is typically blamed for hair loss, severe hair loss is frequently caused by low vitamin D levels. Supporting hair growth, this nutrient is vital for maintaining your hair healthy. A lack of it has been linked to the autoimmune condition called alopecia areata, which causes drastic hair loss.

Also, it seems that hair loss in women is correlated with vitamin D deficiency, and boosting those nutrient levels has been shown to reduce hair loss.

Keep in mind that there are numerous other reasons why hair loss may occur, such as hormones, genetics, or significant lifestyle changes like undergoing surgery, pregnancy, a stressful event and so on.

Fortunately, if vitamin D deficiency is the reason why your hair is falling out, taking high doses of it may solve the issue within a few months.

7.  Slow wound healing

Prolonged wound healing after injury or surgery may be another vitamin D deficiency symptom. In fact, a test-tube study found that vitamin D promotes the synthesis of chemicals required for creating new skin as part of the wound-healing process. Long story short, the sunshine vitamin deals with inflammation focusing on treating infections and healing wounds.

A meta-analysis of four studies discovered that low levels of this nutrient delayed certain stages of healing in persons who had dental surgery. Also, patients with diabetic foot ulcers who are also vitamin D deficient may have a hard time healing those wounds.

Still, further research is required to provide more evidence.

8. Heart problems

Low levels of vitamin D can cause a variety of heart-related issues. For instance, a lack of this nutrient may contribute to high blood pressure. This is because the sunshine vitamin is also vital for maintaining your blood vessels healthy and improving vascular function. When your body gets the right doses of this vitamin, the blood pressure is lowered and the blood vessel walls relax.

That’s why a vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of heart disease. Some studies actually found a connection between this deficiency and cardiovascular problems like strokes, high blood pressure and heart attacks. The sunshine vitamin also boosts the heart’s pumping functions and therefore may help people who struggle with heart issues.

Reduced endurance
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9. Reduced endurance

This is especially for folks who exercise regularly. Some studies suggested that the sunshine vitamin can help athletes build endurance. We’ve already said that this nutrient maintains both your bones and muscle health, so here’s one reason why it can make you stay on a treadmill longer.

Not being able to build endurance is actually a consequence of having sore muscles or bone pain. So, if you have trouble finishing your workout routine, pay attention to signals like the ones mentioned above.

Keep in mind that sore bones are also an osteoporosis symptom. Seeking medical advice is better than autodiagnosis, so talk to your doctor if there’s any pain in your body.

10. Sweaty head

This is a common phenomenon among infants with vitamin D deficiency, but it can also occur in adults. When the human body doesn’t have enough amount of this nutrient, a person may experience hair and scalp sweating. This condition called hyperhidrosis in medical terms is caused by overstimulation of sweat glands and neuromuscular irritability.

You may notice a puddle on the pillow where you’ve been sleeping or sweat rings in your hat. While there may be other root causes of the sweaty head, this phenomenon is commonly associated with a vitamin D deficiency. If you’re experiencing this symptom, talk to your doctor to solve the issue.

If you’re interested in reading more about vitamins, here are 10 Signs You’re Vitamin C Deficient!

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