6 surprising signs of Vitamin D deficiency you shouldn't ignore
Signs and symptoms of low Vitamin D are not very easy to spot but there are some red flags that one can keep a check on.
Vitamin D, the fat-soluble vitamin, is responsible for several important functions in the body from absorption of calcium and phosphorous, building healthy bones, keeping infections at bay to reducing inflammation in the body. According to studies low levels of Vitamin D are associated with many life-threatening illnesses, in people of all age groups. Yes, when it comes to the intake, there are limited options for people. Sunlight and food are often not enough to meet our daily requirements of Vitamin D and this is the reason Vitamin D supplements are frequently recommended to people if their levels are found to be low. So, should you just buy Vitamin D supplements from your pharmacist and start taking it every day? Studies have shown that over-the-counter Vitamin D with very high doses, can increase the risk of uncontrolled use and exogenous hypervitaminosis D, resulting in high concentrations of serum 25(OH)D or free 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], leading to hypercalciuria and hypercalcemia. However, reports of vitamin D overdose are rare in the literature. (Also read: Can Vitamin D aid weight loss? Vitamin D-rich foods to add to your diet)
Signs and symptoms of low Vitamin D are not very easy to spot but there are definitely some red flags that one can keep a check on. For instance, if you are having aches and pains that just don't go away and keep coming back or you experience muscle twitching which is an involuntary contraction of the muscles for a short period, it could indicate need for Vitamin D. Also, if you fall ill quite frequently, suffer from mood swings, or always tired, you should get your Vitamin D levels checked.
"Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is an essential nutrient that the body needs to function properly. As much as it is significant to our well-being, its deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies around the globe. Vitamin D levels in our body are measured by evaluating serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. However, when these levels start deteriorating, some red flags are always displayed by your body," says Dr. Somnath Gupta, Consultant Physician & Diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, who also tells us ways to identify red flags to avoid Vitamin D deficiency.
HOW TO SPOT SIGNS OF LOW VITAMIN D
1. Bone and muscle pain: Recurrent back pain could arise from insufficient Vitamin D levels. We all know that Vitamin D is good for our bone health. Many studies suggest that people with arthritis, chronic widespread pain, and muscle pain have lower levels of Vitamin D than those who do not have these conditions, suggesting a hand-in-hand relation between Vitamin D deficiency and pain.
2. Fragility fractures: Did you know that some fractures are caused due to Vitamin D deficiency? As shocking as it may sound, many fragility fractures (fractures due to falls from a normal standing height or less) result either due to insufficiency or deficiency of Vitamin D. A study found that high 25-OH Vitamin D levels decreased the risk of hip fractures in people aged 60 and above.
3. Muscle twitching: Twitches are involuntary contractions of the muscles for a short period that quickly vanish away. They cause discomfort but no pain. They are different from a muscle spasm, which is a prolonged contraction and causes pain. We all experience them once in a while. And that is nothing to worry about. However, if twitching persists, one needs to consult their doctor as this may be an indication of an underlying condition. Experiencing twitching especially in the eyelids, hands, and calves could be a sign your body's calling out for Vitamin D.
4. Mood changes: Feeling overwhelmed very easily by the slightest change in day-to-day activities often makes us think this could be due to stress, anxiety, or depression. A nutrient deficiency as the cause is the last thing to cross our minds. Turns out that exactly might be the case. However, never conclude. Check with a doctor who would help you in ruling out the diagnosis.
5. Fatigue: Do you feel tired all the time even though you have had your meal, had a good night’s sleep of 7-8 hours or moved your body as suggested by your favourite fitness expert? The culprit here could be your Vitamin D levels. Get your 25-OH Vitamin D levels checked and take supplements as prescribed by your doctor.
6. Frequent infections: Vitamin D interacts directly with various immune cells and helps our body fight against infections. Frequently falling ill to diseases like cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis could be an indication of decreased levels of Vitamin D. A study shows that deficiency of Vitamin D could increase a person’s risk of contracting Covid-19 and the severity of the disease.