Do you often feel fatigued, have sudden mood changes, and experience joint and bone pains.
This might mean that you suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
This article discusses the importance of Vitamin D and the effects of Vitamin D deficiency.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D maintains our overall health.
Vitamin D(also known as the sunshine vitamin) is important as it helps in:
- Stronger bones
- Promotes calcium absorption in the body
- It also helps in bone growth and bone remodeling
- Protects from osteoporosis
- It helps reduce inflammation
Vitamins are important for our health and overall body maintenance as an inadequate amount of them can lead to negative health consequences.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble component that is naturally present in some foods. It is also added in certain other foods.
The most natural form of vitamin D is the sun as its ultraviolet rays are the best source of it.
Vitamin D Requirements in Our Body
A certain amount of every vitamin is required by our body whether it is Vitamin A, B, D, or K.
This amount is usually taken by exposure to sunlight, food that we take on a daily basis, and the rest is taken in the form of supplements.
Typically vitamin guidelines are established by the Institute of Medicine or other health care departments working in the country.
20% of vitamin D comes from our diet while the rest of 80% comes from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun.
The amount of vitamin D required by our body depends primarily on our age. The recommended amounts are:
- Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
- Children 1-13 years: 600 IU
- Teens 14-18 years: 600 IU
- Adults 19-70 years: 600 IU
- Adults 71 and older adults: 800 IU
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers: 600 IU
Thus, people who are unable to intake these required amounts suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
Let’s discover that in detail below.
What is Vitamin D Deficiency?
When we are unable to take the required amount of Vitamin D we may feel fatigued, experience mood swings, and joint and bone-related problems.
Therefore, this means that we are facing Vitamin D deficiency in our bodies.
As discussed above, Vitamin D helps our body in many ways.
Moreover, it not only helps us in maintaining good bone density and mass but also protects us from inflammation that might lead to chronic diseases and bone-related problems.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
There are a number of systems that indicate that you are Vitamin D deficient. These might be:
One of the key roles that vitamin D plays in our body is a strong immunity system.
Hence, if a person suffers from vitamin D deficiency, he or she may get sick or infected quite often.
A number of studies suggest that taking vitamin D supplements or those who have a significant amount of vitamin D in their body suffer less from respiratory diseases.
Fatigue and tiredness are the major symptoms of Vitamin deficiency.
The lower amount of Vitamin D in the body often leads to less calcium absorption in the body.
Therefore, with fewer amounts of calcium in the body, our bones are prone to easily breaking and bone and joints pain.
The risk of this deficiency leads to secondary Hyperparathyroidism which is caused by bone loss and osteoporosis.
A study conducted with 500 adults showed that vitamin D deficiency often leads to increased body mass and weight.
Vitamin D helps in fighting inflammation and infections in our body.
Hence, a person with vitamin deficiency might face problems in the speedy recovery of wounds which in turn increases the risk of inflammation and infection.
Often mood changes like depression and stress are caused by vitamin D deficiency as it can impair cognitive and brain health.
Causes of Deficiency
There are a number of causes of vitamin D deficiency in our body.
Some of these are explained below.
People with light skin have less melanin while those with darker colors have more melanin. Melanin is a component that helps our skin absorb the UV rays from the sun.
Dark-skinned people require three to five times longer exposure to the same amount of vitamin D as compared to light-skinned people.
People with a large body mass and weight are unable to absorb the right amount of vitamin in their blood circulation regardless of the skin color.
- Limited exposure to the sunlight
Most often, people who have reduced exposure to sunlight face deficiency in vitamin D in their blood.
One of the most important things is the amount of sun exposure by a person as it often is the cause of skin cancer in many people.
Sometimes this deficiency is also related to the location of the person. Cities that are located near the equator receive a large number of UV rays while those near the North or South Pole receive a lesser amount.
- Not taking the required amount of Vitamin D
If a person is not taking the right amount of vitamin D either through supplements or sun exposure, they might be deficient in Vitamin D.
Diagnosis and Testing
The most common test performed to check the vitamin deficiency in the body is through blood tests.
Your doctor prescribes a 25 Hydroxy vitamin D blood test to check Vitamin D Deficiency. A level of 20 nanograms or milliliter to 50ng/ml is considered accurate for healthy people.
Hence, a lesser amount indicates vitamin D deficiency.
Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency
A number of treatments are prescribed by physicians or doctors to overcome this deficiency.
Some of these are as follows.
Firstly, one of the most convenient ways is to improve the intake of a proper and healthy diet and supplements to overcome vitamin D deficiency.
Exposure to sunlight also helps to get vitamin D in the body. Moreover, doctors say, the sunlight before 11:00 am is more beneficial than that afterward.
- Intake of fish and seafood
Fatty fish and seafood are some of the best sources of vitamin D. Moreover, salmon is a great source.
Other kinds of seafood that could be taken are:
- Sardines etc
Mushrooms naturally have the tendency to make their own vitamin D. Most often their consumption can help with the intake of vitamin D.
- Including egg yolk in diet
Moreover, doctors recommend adding egg yolk in our diet as it contains a number of vitamins and minerals required by our body.
As few of the many foods contain vitamin D, this nutrient is added to staple foods which are known as a fortification.
However, we should also know about those foods that contain vitamin D.
Common staple foods containing Vitamin D are;
- soy, almond, and hemp milk
- cows milk
- ready to eat cereals
- some types of yogurt
Vitamin D Requirements as Per Age Groups
Most often doctors or physicians take different age groups into account when they prescribe Vitamin D supplements. Requirements per age are described below.
- Children 1-18: a suggested treatment for this age group is the intake of an active form of 2000IU/d of vitamin D3 for at least 6 weeks. Or with 50,000 IU/d for once in 6 weeks.
- Older Adults. A suggested amount for adults by doctors is 50,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 in the active form once for 8 weeks. Or it’s equivalent to 6,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.
- Obese patients. The amount depends upon malnutrition or medications affecting vitamin D absorption.
For such patients, at least 6,000-10,000 IU/day) of vitamin D to treat this deficiency to maintain a 25(OH)D level above 30 ng/mL, followed by maintenance therapy of 3,000-6,000IU/day.
What Happens When You Take Excessive Vitamin D?
There are a number of negative consequences if you take an excessive dosage of vitamin D.
The risk of vitamin deficinecy are as follows:
Hypercalcemia is the elevated amount of calcium in the blood that causes weakness, confusion, loss of appetite, and painful calcium deposits.
It can lead to vascular and tissue calcification which in turn affects the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys.
- Risk of falls and fractures
Some studies suggest that a high dosage of vitamin D can lead to increased risks of falls and fractures.
Studies suggest that prolonged supplementation of vitamin D can lead to kidney and tissue damage.
A study suggests that this deficiency can lead to the development of multiple sclerosis in women which makes it a reliable marker for the disease.
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins that not only helps with the absorption of calcium but is also necessary for bone growth, its development, reduction of inflammation and fighting disease.
Furthermore, a proper intake of healthy food and taking supplements help in maintaining the level of vitamin D in the body.
Therefore, if in any case a person feels fatigued, joint or bone pain or mood swings, he or she should consult their physician or doctor and get their vitamin levels checked.
At-home remedies can also be taken to improve the vitamin levels in the body.
A healthy diet including whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean meat ensures that our body requirements are met. However, one can take a blend of supplements to aid in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Vitamin D is an essential component of our body. A Vitamin D Deficiency can greatly affect our bones and overall health.
Hence, if you need a checkup and treatment, you must consult your doctor soon. If you found this article useful, let us know in the comments.