10 Symptoms of Vitamin D3 deficiency
It is thought that as many, or more than 100 million Americans and about 1 billion people around the world have vitamin D3 deficiency. Those with darker skin or of African-American or Hispanic background have a higher likelihood of becoming deficient in Vitamin D3. Other risk factors include the house-bound elderly or any age who stays indoors or uses large amounts of sunscreen regularly when outdoors, being overweight, living far away from the equator where there is little sunshine year-round, and those who eat very little or no fish or dairy.
Why are we so deficient in it?
Lack of exposure to sunlight is the number one reason for deficiency in Vitamin D3. Other reasons are because we eat foods that don’t contain the sunshine vitamin. Also, age or kidney and liver disease contributes to the lack of Vitamin D3 intake since kidneys become less efficient in converting it. Digestive issues are also the culprit. Vitamin D3 is fat soluble, so in obese people the fat takes the Vitamin D3 in and doesn’t allow for absorption to be used throughout the body.
Where do we get vitamin D3 from?
If you ask, many people will probably tell you that we get Vitamin D from milk. After all, the labels on the milk cartons make it clear that it is Vitamin D enriched. Even if that were our most important source for Vitamin D3, it would not be the right kind. Summer’s sun has an inexplicable lure that draws us all to want to head to the beach or to the park to soak up its rays. Though, inundated with warnings of too much damaging sun rays, these rays of sunshine do hold one important factor – Vitamin D3. Moderate exposure to the sun is the best way to get Vitamin D3. But, another great source is from fish.
How do you know if you lack this very important nutrient?
If you want to know for sure if you are deficient in Vitamin D3, a simple blood test that merely requires not eating for four hours beforehand, will reveal the answer. Most importantly, we need to do a blood test annually to know for sure. Ask to conduct a test called the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test, or some call it the 25-OH vitamin D test or the Calcidiol 25-hydroxycholecalciferol test. This is the most accurate measure of the levels of Vitamin D in your system. There are also symptoms that indicate a lack of Vitamin D3 may be the culprit to your problems.
Here are 10 Vitamin D3 deficiency symptoms:
- Aches and pains, Back Pain, muscle cramps, joint pain and general overall fatigue or weakness, fractures or low bone density. Tiredness may be caused by any number of factors, but it is also one of the most disregarded symptom of lack of Vitamin D3. If left untreated, poor bone density could result in osteoporosis since Vitamin D3 helps the body absorb calcium needed for strong bones. If you experience muscle spasms, it may be due to a lack of Vitamin D3. Studies have shown that when even those whose blood levels are not extremely low in the vitamin benefit from improved overall energy levels when Vitamin D3 was added to their daily routines and many reported less struggling with lower back pain as before. The vitamin interacts with pain-sensing nerve cells, so making sure you have enough Vitamin D3 may also help with chronic pain. Another side benefit that helps with fatigue is that those with sufficient levels of Vitamin D3 tend to have better quality of sleep.
- Depression, mood changes, irritability, or increased anxiety. Of course, depression may be the result of many other factors, but since Vitamin D3 supports the brain and its healthy functions, adequate amounts of it helps alleviate feeling depressed or anxious. Our brains have Vitamin D receptors which may in turn affect proteins that are important in maintaining healthy moods.
- Weight Gain or gut issues are caused by numerous factors, but a study reported by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that women who had healthy blood levels of Vitamin D3 lost more weight than those with insufficient amounts of the vitamin. This is probably due to the fat soluble vitamin’s affect on the receptor cells that control metabolism and hunger.
- Low Testosterone, other hormonal imbalances or low blood sugar issues are at stake with low levels of Vitamin D3 since this vitamin also actually functions like a hormone. Every cell in our bodies have a receptor for Vitamin D3.
- Blood Pressure or Heart Issues, even congestive heart failure could be the result of lacking sufficient amounts of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked in studies to stroke and other cardiovascular problems. In fact, the risk for developing a heart disease is twice as high for those who have lower levels of Vitamin D3 in their system. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 decreases the activity of the rein-angiotensin system which in turn stabilizes blood pressure.
- Asthma sufferers have found relief, according to studies, when sufficient amounts of Vitamin D3 is added to their diet. Sufficient levels of the vitamin helps in the production of cytokines and interleukin to reduce the pulmonary inflammation of asthma.
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients have been studied to reveal that there may be a direct correlation to keeping these cognitive disorders at bay and getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin D3. A six-year study found that those with low levels of Vitamin D had an increased the risk of developing dementia by as little as 53 percent and as high as 120 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to people with high or sufficient levels of the vitamin. The vitamin prompts the immune system to break down amyloid-beta proteins in the brain.
- Hair Loss is often shrugged off as just a natural course of aging, especially in men. But, when hair loss is noticeable, it may be the result of lack of Vitamin D3 among other nutrients. Women experiencing hair loss have found help by increasing their intake of the vitamin. The autoimmune disease, alopecia areata has been linked with rickets, which has a direct correlation to lack of sufficient amounts of Vitamin D3.
- Immune system issues, slow wound healing, even cancer is often the first signs of Vitamin D3 deficiency. If you get sick often, take note. One of the most important things that this sunshine vitamin does is to keep your immune system strong. The very disease we are trying to avoid getting by lathering up with sunscreen is the very disease we could develop with too little Vitamin D3, which the sun provides. It’s a conundrum of sorts. A Boston University study showed that any improvement in Vitamin D3 affects the DNA and expression of the genes that have pathways linked to autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Increasing Vitamin D3 levels have also shown to help with wound healing after surgery or injuries.
Nutr Res. 2011 Jan;31(1):48-54, Forrest KY – Prevalence and correlates of vitam D deficiency in US adults – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306
PloS One 2013; 8(3):e58725. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058725.Epub 2013 Mar 20 – Influence of Vitamin D status and vitamin D3 supplementation on genome wide expression of white blood cells: a randomized double-blind clinical trial – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23527013
Oxford Journals, Age Ageing, 2014 Sep; 43(5): 589-591. Understanding Vitamin D Deficiency – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4143492/
Witte J. G. Hoogendijk, MD, PhD, Arch Gen Psychiatry 2008;65(5):508-512 – Depression Is Associated With Decreased 25-Hy-droxyvitamin D and Increased Parathyroid Hormone Levels in Older Adults – https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/482702
The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Consuelo H. Wilkins, MD, December 2006, Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated With Low Mood and Worse Cognitive Performance in Older Adults – http://www.ajgponline.org/article/S1064-7481(12)60890-2/abstract
BJ Psych, The British Journal of Psychiatry 202, 109-107, Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis – http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/bjprcpsych/202/2/100.full.pdf