Vitamin D is considered an essential nutrient for the human body because of its role in promoting strong, healthy bones and teeth. Additionally, this fat-soluble vitamin has also been found to bolster immunity and reduce the risk of developing cancer. As you can see, while it's sometimes overlooked in the family of vitamins, it's actually pretty important.
Having a vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of significant health problems, not least of which are brittle bones. This is especially common in younger people, as their bones are still forming and developing. If left unchecked, this can also lead to bone deformities and/or increased risk of injury/fractures. Additional studies have found evidence that vitamin D is also responsible for the prevention of hypertension, diabetes (type 1 and type 2), and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Below are 7 of the most common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency.
1. Muscle Pain/Weakness
Vitamin D deficiency leads to pain and weakness in the muscles, with the pain increasing in intensity as the deficiency becomes more severe. Lack of vitamin D also causes slower muscle contractions.
2. Malfunctioning Immune System
Immune cells feed on vitamin D, so when the body faces a deficit of this important vitamin, immune function suffers. A Japanese study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when schoolchildren were split into two groups - one of which took vitamin D supplements while the other which didn't - the kids who took vitamin D were much less likely to contract influenza. A second study also found that people with autoimmune diseases also have naturally low levels of vitamin D.
3. Elevated Blood Pressure
Hypertension, a.k.a. high blood pressure, is a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D regulates the body's water levels, which in turn help regulate blood pressure.
4. Depression and/or Mood Swings
Vitamin D has also been found to potentially be at play when people catch a case of the blues. In particular, vitamin D has been linked to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a sadness or depression that tends to occur during seasonal changes. This may possibly be due to the fact that human skin cells naturally produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, which becomes limited during dark winter months.
In a study, participants with SAD were offered vitamin D3 supplements as a treatment option. The group which supplemented with vitamin D3 experienced noticeable changes in their mood, as well as decreased lethargy, food cravings, and sleep disturbances.
5. Stomach Problems
It has been found that vitamin D supplementation has had positive effects upon patients suffering from celiac disease, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowels, and a variety of other gastrointestinal conditions.
6. Chronic Sweating
Although it's still not entirely clear how vitamin D and chronic sweating (particularly in the forehead area) are correlated, scientists have nonetheless identified a correlation between excessive sweating and being deficient in vitamin D.
7. Cardiovascular Disorders
Perhaps one of the most serious effects of vitamin D deficiency is how it can provoke certain kinds of heart conditions. Experts say that when vitamin D is too low, the calcium levels in the arteries get too high. This, in turn, causes clogs which can lead to heart failure or a stroke.
In addition to the examples listed above, vitamin D deficiency has also shown to aggravate and/or cause other conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity.
Best Sources of Vitamin D:
If you think you may have a vitamin D deficiency, it's important to get your nutrition and well-being on track again. Here are some great ways to supplement your vitamin D intake:
- Vitamin D Fortified Orange Juice
- Fortified, Plant-Based Milks
As always, be sure to consult your physician before starting and new health regimen or supplementation (although the sunlight method seems pretty darn safe).
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