Did you know that we can produce our own Vitamin D through our skin when its exposed to sunlight? I didn’t. I thought the only way we could get Vitamin D was through consumption of food such as fish, fish liver oils, eggs, and fortified dairy products.
It’s difficult to get Vitamin D through diet alone and even going outside to get our daily sun dosage may not cut it. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies, with a growing number of Americans being deficient in the essential vitamin. Certain factors can increase your likelihood of Vitamin D deficiency like having darker skin, stay away from the sun, and adhering to a strict vegan diet. The question is how do we know we are deficient?
Here are the 5 warning signs of Vitamin D deficiency you should consult your primary physician about and pay attention to if they start to become a reoccurring issue:
- Bone and back pain can be a warning sign that you need to up your Vitamin D intake. Because Vitamin D is so intrinsically involved with bone health by helping our body absorb calcium, bone pain and back pain can be a signal that you do not have enough Vitamin D in your blood. One study has linked low Vitamin D levels in people to an increase in back, leg, and rib pain. Larger studies have revealed a pretty solid correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and lower back pain.
- Fatigue and muscle weakness can be a sign of multiple issues. Low levels of Vitamin D have been connected to chronic fatigue. Harvard researchers have linked vitamin D supplementation with increased muscle control, resulting in 20% fewer falls among adults around 60 years old. And one study showed a woman ridding herself of fatigue symptoms after taking Vitamin D supplements. However, because fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses, fatigue alone can’t quite determine a Vitamin D deficiency.
- Getting sick often is probably the most common sign of a Vitamin D deficiency. Large studies have been done linking an increase in infections to deficiencies in Vitamin D in the bloodstream. Because Vitamin D plays an important role in keeping our immune system functioning and fighting fit, it is imperative we get our daily dosage of the vital vitamin.
- Depression can be a sign of low Vitamin D levels. We generally see more signs of depression during the winter due to a decrease in sunlight and increase in inclement weather. This is normally referred to as seasonal depression. However, researchers are starting to connect a lack of Vitamin D in the bloodstream to those with depression symptoms. Although more research is being done on low Vitamin D levels and depression, not enough research has been done yet.
- Slow progress in the healing of injuries can be a sign of low Vitamin D levels. Because Vitamin D is associated with the immune system and to our bone health, a person’s inability to heal quickly could easily be connected to a deficiency. One study done on dental patients showed a correlation between patients with Vitamin D deficiencies and compromised healing from dental surgeries. Another study showed that patients with low Vitamin D levels have higher levels of inflammatory markers that can compromise their ability to heal. However, despite these smaller scale studies, more research needs to be done on whether or not supplements could reverse or affect the healing process in patients low in Vitamin D.