Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms & 10 Worst Diseases Hurting You!

The ‘Sunshine’ Vitamin is the newest, and the hot favorite health topic of discussion lately. Furthermore, Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are hard to observe!
The deficiency of Vitamin D may lead to serious health hazards. Right from gut problems to various Cancers, it is now linked to multiple health problems. Thus, this can only be prevented if you’re aware of the effects and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency.

The signs are not well demarcated, therefore, they can be missed easily, even by the most experienced Physician. However, the incidence of Vitamin D deficient population is so big, that one needs to scale his or her own habits to realize, what’s the right and good to eat.



What causes Vitamin D deficiency symptoms?

Numerous factors are responsible for the development of Vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Some of the major causes are-




Age – Kidneys helps to convert inactive Vitamin D to its active form. With the advancing age, kidneys weaken, and so is the ability to convert Vitamin D to its active state. Therefore, people over 60 years of age are advised to take supplements which contain the already active form of Vitamin D (D3).

Obesity – High fat to muscle mass creates a pool like a state in an obese individual. Hence, higher amounts of Vitamin D supplementation is required to reach the steady state.

Inadequate Sun Exposure – Individuals who work from home, elders who remain immobile due to weak joints, newborn babies, and bed-ridden patients are all vulnerable to Vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Because, they are not exposed enough to the sunlight, symptoms are detected early in them.

Deficient Diet – Most vegetarians have a diet deficient in Vitamin D products. Along with inadequate sun exposure, may lead to many health issues related to Vitamin D deficiency.

Inefficient Absorption / Malabsorption Issues – Patients with recognized intestinal problems, may suffer from Fat soluble Vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K. Notably, all these vitamins require bile to break down in the upper intestine and get utilized for the body machinery. These patients are dependent upon the external supplements in the form of tablets or injectable drugs.

Liver or/ and Kidney Problems – Liver and Kidney, both are required for the conversion of the inactive form of Vitamin D to its active form. Hence, any health disorder leading to a serious problem to any of the two organs may cause a low level of Vitamin D in the body.




Pregnancy / Nursing State – The requirement of Vitamin D enormously rises during the pregnancy and during nursing state.

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Role of Vitamin D in the body

Vitamin D is not only a vitamin. The way it engages with the metabolism of the body has lead to an understanding that, it may be considered as a ‘Hormone’! The major purpose of Vitamin D in our diet is to keep a balance between two major minerals of the bone, Calcium, and Phosphorous.

Calcium is not only found in the bones but is also a keen component of muscles (including heart muscles) and various biochemical reactions in the body. Therefore, regulation of Calcium levels in the body is of utmost importance. This is handled by the levels of Vitamin D in the blood.

What is Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3 is the Active form of Vitamin D!

What is the difference between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D is nicknamed the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ because the body produces the active form of Vitamin D, called Vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight. Though, Vitamin D3 is not the only active form but is the first step in the body towards the active form of Vitamin D.
The diet we consume is rich in ‘Inactive Form of Vitamin D’, which has to be converted to the Active D3 form for the proper action. This is achieved only when you’re exposed to sunlight, even for a brief period. Moreover, the place of this conversion occurs under your skin!
Therefore, even if you consume Vitamin D-rich diet and avoid going out in the sun, you’re prone to develop symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency.

How should you consume Vitamin D?

A simple solution is to have Vitamin D3 in the form of tablets, depending upon your age, health status, and diet. This is only recommended in special situations. The simpler solution is to continue with the diet rich in Vitamin D (points enumerated below), and enjoy the sunshine occasionally.

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Beautifully explained the difference between D and D3. Also enumerating the countless benefits of Vitamin D

Image Credit: InsaneMedicine.com



What are the common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?

Contrary to the previous belief, Vitamin D deficiency is a gift of old age. It’s not true anymore!
Vitamin D can be deficient even in an infant, a healthy male, a working housewife and in an active elderly person. However, a good diet and fitness routine can lessen the chances of having Vitamin D deficiency in the body. But, this doesn’t mean that a healthy looking active man cannot be deficient in Vitamin D.
Though there are no specific symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency, if you’re having a majority of the described symptoms, do give it a check.
Do you know? If you have darker skin, your body needs approximately 10 times the sun exposure than the person with paler skin, to convert an equal amount of Vitamin D3 from Inactive Vitamin D. Because of the melanin pigment in the skin, it acts as a barrier to the underlying tissues. Hence, lesser penetration of the UV rays occurs in a darker skin person.
vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms
Do you Know? Overweight or Obese people are more prone to develop Vitamin D overdose. Because, continuous intake of Vitamin D even in normal in obese adults may lead to over storage of the vitamin in the body and consequently, Hypervitaminosis! Vitamin D is a fat-soluble Vitamin, therefore, in obese patients having a higher fat percentage in the body, it acts as a large pool deficiency symptoms. They are also very vulnerable to develop the problems of Vitamin D overdose.

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms are as follows:

1. Fatigue and Generalized Weakness

So far, this is the most common and yet most unrecognized symptom of Vitamin D deficient diet. This may be due to decreased muscle control by the muscle fibers. However, sudden unexplained fatigue accompanied by weight loss is an alarming symptom. This must be investigated further to rule out any serious health hazard.

2. Body aches and Weak joints

Vitamin D is required for the mineralization of the bones. Hence, a diet deficient in Vitamin D leads to poor bone health, weaker joints and occasionally generalized body aches. Deficiency of Vitamin D leads to Osteomalacia in adults and Rickets in children.

3. Depression & Mental Changes

The mood elevating neurotransmitter in the brain ‘Serotonin’ is regulated by the amount of Vitamin D we ingest through our diet. People with low Vitamin D levels in the blood are often found to have a depressed mental state. Therefore, this may be the explanation, why lower blood levels of Vitamin D should be corrected to maintain a healthy mind and body.

4. Indigestion, Constipation, Diarrhea & Malabsorption problems

Though, malabsorption states or severe indigestion problems may point towards are a more serious problem in the body. But, this may also lead to the deficiency of all Fat-soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, and K). The long-term malabsorption conditions may also lead to the development of various Cancer in the gut and Autoimmune problems like Crohn’s disease.

5. High Blood Pressure

Though, it is too early to firmly establish a definite association between low levels of Vitamin D in the body and incidence of High Blood Pressure. But, most recent researches have been pointing towards the strong link between the two.

Testing for Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

If you suspect to have Vitamin D deficiency, or you’re just curious about your status, get yourself a blood test. The test is called the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test (also called the 25-OH vitamin D test or Calcidiol 25-hydroxycholecalciferol test).
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Image Credit: Mercola

Diseases linked to Vitamin D deficiency

As discussed, Vitamin D plays many roles and is now known to be a major precursor of many serious chronic diseases in the body. Notably among them are –

1. Osteomalacia & Rickets

Deficiency of Vitamin D best reflects in bones. This Vitamin regulates the Parathyroid hormone (PTH), which in turn maintains Calcium balance in the body. Low Vitamin D causes higher levels of Parathyroid hormone (PTH) in the blood. Consequently, more Calcium is broken down from the bone, to maintain the blood Calcium levels. Therefore, the bones become Calcium deficit and Osteomalacia or Rickets ensues. Furthermore, this process may lead to Osteoporotic bones, which fracture easily.

2. Myopathy

Myopathy is ‘problem in the muscles’. This arises in severe Vitamin D deficiency states because the Vitamin has a direct effect on the muscle strength. Hence, lower D3 levels lead to muscle weakness and muscular pain issues.

3. Heart Problems

Chronic lower levels of Vitamin D levels have been associated with the development of various Heart problems. Notably among them are – LVF (Left Ventricular Failure), Sudden Heart Attack and Peripheral Arterial Diseases (PAD) are linked with the lower levels of Vitamin D in the body.

4. Depression and Suicidal Tendency

As already mentioned, Vitamin D regulates the balance of Serotonin – The mood elevator! Lower Vitamin D levels are accompanied by Depressed states. Furthermore, the chronic situation can even lead to suicidal tendencies too!

5. Diabetes Mellitus

It is noticed that patients with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) who have normal Vitamin D and calcium levels in their blood, had significantly lower blood sugar levels, lesser inflammatory conditions, and increased glucose regulation.

6. Cancer

Various studies in recent times show many Internal Malignancies (Cancer) are linked with depressed states of Vitamin D. Almost 17 types of Cancers are known because of Vitamin D deficit states. Notably among them are – Prostate, Colorectal, Breast, Pancreatic and Thyroid Cancer. The highest incidence was noted for Colorectal (Intestinal) Cancers.

7. Infertility & PMS

Recently, Infertility has been linked with low Vitamin D  levels. It is seen that women who consumed Vitamin D rich foods, were more likely to get pregnant and stay pregnant! Moreover, the higher incidence of Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) is linked with low Vitamin D and Calcium levels.

8. Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are fatal! There seems to be no way out. These arise because the body’s immune system attacks it’s own healthy cells. Normally, the immune system functions to protect our body from the invaders. But, in the Autoimmune disease, the cells of the immune system fails to recognize it’s own healthy cells. Consequently, the immune cells attack the normal healthy cells and problem started. Studies indicate a lesser degree of Autoimmune disorders with optimal levels of Vitamin D in the body.

Some of the notable Autoimmune diseases are – Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Diabetes Type 1, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Vasculitis.

9. Alzheimer’s Disease

This is a degenerative disease leading to loss of neurons in the brain, consequently Dementia (Memory Loss). Eventually, it involves all major cognitive functions and severe behavioral changes. Vitamin D supplementation in elderly age groups has been linked with lesser rates of developing Alzheimer’s dementia.

10. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease develops when the brain cells are deprived of the neurotransmitter called, Dopamine. Vitamin D supplementation can lessen the risk of the disease, as the receptors of the Vitamin are found throughout the brain tissue.

Conclusion

Though, people get vitamin D through food and by sunlight exposure. But, supplementing the needy is always required. In most cases, Vitamin D deficiency isn’t a concern because the Vitamin D deficiency symptoms do not develop in most people.
Some special concerns are pregnant and nursing mothers, dark-skinned persons, bed-ridden patients, people who work from home, elderly population, newborn babies, and obese people.
In many cases, a spontaneous fracture is first and main concern. Later, these patients are found to have extremely low levels of Vitamin D or Vitamin D Deficiency. Whenever in doubt, ask for an expert opinion, and get the blood test done. Because most mishaps don’t give warnings beforehand! Not even this one!

Dr Navneet Goyal

Dr Navneet Goyal is an Anesthesiologist Doctor, Internet Entreprenuer, Self-taught Marketer, SEO and a Growth Hacker! He has also learnt Web Designing, Lead Management, Digital Marketing & Financial Planning through various resources. His goal is to enhance the current Education model into a Motivational Driven Self Learning Platform.
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