Vitamin D is an incredibly important nutrient that has a number of positive health effects. However, many people are deficient in vitamin D. In fact, approximately 42% of the United States population suffers from vitamin D deficiency with 5.9% of the population severely deficient. Some groups are even more impacted including premenopausal women and people over 65.
However, most people who are vitamin D deficient do not even realize their status. Thus, it is important to understand the different signs of vitamin D deficiency. This will help people to better identify if they need more vitamin D.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Fatigue. Being excessively tired can be a sign of many different ailments; thus, vitamin D deficiency can often be overlooked as a cause of fatigue. However, testing your vitamin D blood level may quickly illustrate that deficiency may be a source of fatigue. Research has found that this is often a sign in young women.
Frequency Sickness. Are you someone that finds yourself frequently getting colds? Vitamin D deficiency could be the case. One of the important functions of vitamin D is that it strengthens your immune system. Studies have particularly found that people with low levels of vitamin D tend to get many more respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D directly contributes to the formation of the cells that are responsible for fighting off viruses, so it is no surprise that this is a sign of deficiency.
Slow to Heal. Adequate vitamin D levels are important for helping our wounds heal. This is because vitamin D helps to control inflammation and fight infection, two important aspects for the healing process. Studies have found that patients with lower levels of vitamin D heal less quickly from surgery. If you are slow to heal after getting a cut or injury, vitamin D deficiency could be a culprit.
Bone Loss. One of the important functions of vitamin D is helping with calcium absorption. This contributes to the maintenance of bone health. With low vitamin D levels, bone loss is possible. This tends to be more of a severe issue in women and is often a sign that can go unnoticed.
Hair Loss. Hair loss can also be caused by deficiency of a number of nutrients including vitamin D. In fact, low vitamin D levels are also a risk factor of developing alopecia which causes severe hair loss. There are many different things that affect hair health so understanding the cause may be difficult. If someone experiences hair loss with other signs of vitamin D deficiency, a doctor may want to investigate.
Depression. Mental health is very complicated and can be caused by a wide range of factors. However, low levels of vitamin D can contribute to the onset of depression or an increase in its severity. In fact, vitamin D has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression in some people.
What Should I Do?
These are common signs of vitamin D deficiency. If you feel that your health may be impacted by low levels of vitamin D, it is best to discuss the matter with your doctor. Health is complicated and vitamin D deficiency may often be overlooked. Your doctor can test the level of vitamin D in your blood and help investigate potential causes of any symptoms.
Additionally, many people can simply benefit from increasing their vitamin D levels, particularly those who do not get a lot of sunlight. For those that want the benefits of sunlight without the health risks of too much exposure, a sun lamp may be an excellent way to recharge your vitamin D levels.