Vitamin D deficiency: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Last updated on Oct 18, 2020, 04:36 pm
Vitamin D deficiency: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Known for enabling the absorption of calcium, thereby aiding in maintaining good bone and muscle health, vitamin D plays many roles to keep the body functional. This "sunshine" vitamin modulates the immune system, helps in cell growth, reduces inflammation, regulates blood pressure, and supports cardiovascular health. Since vitamin D deficiency is becoming quite common, here is an explanation of its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Causes

Causes: Limited sunlight, low consumption of vitamin, vegan diet

Limited exposure to sunlight is the leading cause of vitamin D deficiency because your body makes this vitamin when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Also, when you don't consume the recommended levels of the vitamin, this deficiency occurs. This is most likely to happen if you follow a strict vegan diet since most of the natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based.

Symptoms

Symptoms: Feeling overly tired, falling sick often, depressed mood

Since vitamin D is crucial for bone and muscle health, its depletion causes pain in your bones and muscles, especially in the lower back. Feeling overly tired and falling sick often are also signs of vitamin D deficiency. In fact, some observational studies suggest that it causes depressed moods, too. If you experience these symptoms, get your blood levels checked and proceed toward treatment.

First treatment

Try to get some sun breaks between work

Vitamin D deficiency has increased in recent times due to the work-from-home situation. Since your exposure to sunlight has decreased, you might be facing the symptoms that have been mentioned above. To tackle this, try to get some sun breaks between work because spending some time outdoors daily can be helpful. However, don't overdo it as excessive exposure to the sun may cause skin issues.

Diet

Food sources that can increase your vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is abundantly available in animal-based food products. If you are a non-vegetarian, include eggs, meat, and fishes like salmon in your diet. For vegetarians, cheese is surprisingly a good source. Also, increase your consumption of milk and dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D and calcium. Mushrooms exposed to UV light (place them in sunlight for few hours) are also great.

Supplements

Doctors usually suggest vitamin supplements for this deficiency

Usually, when blood test results show lower levels of vitamin D, doctors prescribe vitamin D supplements, along with calcium ones, if you have weaker bones. These supplements are very effective and run a course of months. In fact, vitamin D3 supplements are quite useful and popular in deficiency treatments. However, don't take these supplements on your own, without talking to your doctor first.

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