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Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may include fatigue, frequent illness, anxiety, bone pain, and slower wound healing, among others. Treatments may include dietary changes or taking supplements.
Vitamin D is sometimes called the
It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that plays critical roles in the proper functioning of your body, including bone health and immunity. It may even help prevent cancer and protect against several chronic conditions,
- bone loss
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease
- multiple sclerosis
Vitamin D deficiency is typically defined as having blood levels below 20 ng/mL, while levels from 21–29 ng/mL are considered insufficient. Most adults should get
However, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide. For example, nearly
Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms and treatments for vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D research has shown that certain levels may help reduce the risks of respiratory infections. However, it’s best to speak with a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing frequent infections or illness without any known cause. They could discuss any supplements and appropriate vaccines for your overall health.
Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may cause fatigue. For example:
2019 studyin 480 older adults linked vitamin D deficiency with fatigue symptoms.
2020 studyin 39 children associated low vitamin D levels with poor sleep quality, shorter sleep duration, and delayed bedtimes. These may lead to increased fatigue.
2015 studyin female nurses found a connection between low vitamin D levels and self-reported fatigue. What’s more, 89% of the participants were deficient in this vitamin.
More studies are necessary.
Slow wound healing after surgery or injury may be a sign that your vitamin D levels are too low. For example, a
This may be because vitamin D
Vitamin D’s role in controlling inflammation and addressing infections may also be important for proper healing.
For example, a
Similarly, in a
Low bone mineral density is an indication that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals. This places older adults, especially females, at an
However, research on vitamin D supplementation therapy in independent older adults has yielded mixed results. For example, a
Speak with a healthcare professional about vitamin D supplementation if you’re experiencing bone loss.
The causes of muscle pain are often difficult to pinpoint. However, vitamin D deficiency may be a potential cause.
A 2014 study found that
The vitamin D receptor is present in nerve cells called nociceptors, which sense pain. This vitamin may also be involved in your body’s
Obesity is a
There’s no single cause for vitamin D deficiency. However, your overall risk may be higher as a result of certain underlying conditions or lifestyle factors, including:
- having darker skin
- infants who are breastfeeding
- adults age 65 years and older
- minimal sunlight exposure, such as people who live far from the equator or in regions with little sunlight year-round
- having overweight or obesity
- having chronic kidney disease or liver disease
- having a health condition that affects nutrient absorption, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease
- using certain medications that affect vitamin D metabolism, such as statins
Vitamin D deficiency is usually treated with supplements, such as cholecalciferol. You can easily buy these over the counter. However, it’s best to speak with a healthcare professional for the proper dosage recommendations for you.
A doctor may also recommend you go outside more because sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D. However, it’s important to take precautions by limiting your total time in the sun and applying sunscreen.
It can be difficult to tell whether you have a vitamin D deficiency, as the symptoms may be subtle. Furthermore, it’s possible to have a vitamin D deficiency without experiencing any symptoms.
Ask a doctor to check for vitamin D deficiency if you notice any symptoms. The doctor will do a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test to check for your levels. They may also rule out other causes for some of the symptoms you’re experiencing.
How can I increase my vitamin D?
Some ways to help you increase your vitamin D levels include getting more sunlight, taking vitamin D supplements, and consuming more fatty fish.
How long does it take to fix vitamin D deficiency?
The amount of time required to treat vitamin D deficiency depends on your age, the severity of the deficiency, and any underlying health conditions. A healthcare professional may prescribe adults vitamin D supplements like cholecalciferol for up to 10 weeks, while children may receive a prescription for 12 weeks.
Vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly common, but the symptoms are often subtle and nonspecific, so it may be hard to know whether you have a deficiency or some other health condition.
If you think you may have a deficiency, ask a healthcare professional for a blood test. Vitamin D deficiency is usually treated with supplements and dietary and lifestyle changes.