Vitamin D is an important vitamin that helps your body grow and repair new cells. It also supports the immune system while reducing damage from free radicals in the environment. This vitamin is also incredibly important for the health of your bones as said on a website called Authority Reports.
What is Vitamin D?
This vitamin is most commonly known as the sunshine vitamin. Your body produces this vitamin after being exposed to the sun. It is also fat-soluble so the body is only able to absorb this vitamin when it is combined with fat. It is present in cod and fish liver oils. Vitamin D is important because it allows the body to absorb calcium.
Signs of A Vitamin D Deficiency
It is very difficult to diagnose a vitamin D deficiency; the only way to detect it is by doing blood tests. However, there are a few signs that might indicate that you are at risk for developing a deficiency. These signs and risk factors are:
- Individuals who have darker skin – People with higher levels of melanin in their skin need 10 times more vitamin D than light-skinned people.
- People who are over 50 years old – With age, the kidneys become less efficient at processing vitamin D.
- A general sense of malaise – Vitamin D helps the body to produce serotonin. Thus, individuals who are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to experience symptoms of depression.
- Poor gut health – Diseases that affect the digestive system like Crohn’s Disease or inflammatory bowel disease have guts that are not fully able to absorb fats.
- Obesity – Vitamin D collects in the fat cells in the body so people with a higher percentage of body fat need more of this vitamin.
- Aching bones – A lack of calcium caused by insufficient vitamin D in the body can cause pain in the bones and joints.
- Extreme sweating – Excessive perspiration, particularly on the forehead is a classic symptom of a vitamin D deficiency.
Diseases Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency
A deficiency in this vitamin is difficult to identify so often people live with this deficiency for extended periods. They only discover that they have been deficient in this vitamin after they develop an illness that is caused by a vitamin D deficiency. These harmful conditions include cardiovascular disease, cancer, or asthma. Another serious condition related to vitamin D deficiency is rickets. This disease is commonly seen in children. Soft, weak bones and skeletal deformities characterize this disease. Additionally, children who develop rickets suffer from pain in the spine, pelvis, and legs, delayed growth and muscle weakness.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
There are a number of things that could cause a vitamin D deficiency. The most common reason is that you are not eating a diet that contains enough of this vitamin. Because this vitamin is found in animal sources, it is very common to see individuals who follow a strict vegan diet suffering from this deficiency. Vitamin D deficiencies are also often seen in people who do not get enough exposure to the sun. Additionally, the kidneys being unable to convert vitamin D into its active form cause a vitamin D deficiency.
Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency
Once your doctor has diagnosed you with a vitamin D deficiency they will most likely subscribe a supplement for you to take daily. However, it can be rather difficult for your doctor on a precise amount that you need. You can also include more vitamin D into your lifestyle by making a few simple changes. Spend a little time in the sun every day. However, there is an important note to add to this point. Always avoid the midday sun and make sure that you are wearing sunscreen with a low sun protection factor. This will ensure you are absorbing vitamin D without damaging your skin. You can also add a few foods into your diet that are high in vitamin D. These foods include fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. There are also a wide variety of foods available that have been fortified with vitamin D this includes some dairy products, soy milk, orange juice and certain cereals.