Of course, we all know that vitamin D is important for our overall health. But do you know just how crucial it really is? And how many people are trudging along without enough of it?
As the days get shorter and darker, experts are shedding light on vitamin D deficiency. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin D is vital in multiple bodily functions, particularly in helping the body absorb calcium, which is essential for strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for the human body. It is necessary to maintain bone health, contribute to the immune system and the health of the body’s muscles and nerves, and reduce inflammation. Despite its importance, many people worldwide are deficient in this vitamin.
It’s not just underdeveloped countries that deal with this deficiency. Surprisingly, 35% of Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin D, according to the NIH.
Here are some of the signs that can indicate a vitamin D deficiency:
Fatigue and Weakness
Vitamin D is also essential for maintaining muscle strength. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to muscle weakness and fatigue. If you struggle to perform routine tasks that were once easy, it could be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency.
Impaired Wound Healing
Vitamin D helps the body fight off infections by regulating the immune system. It also plays a crucial role in the healing process. Therefore, a deficiency in Vitamin D can result in impaired wound healing and increased susceptibility to infections.
Vitamin D plays an essential role in balancing the immune system, and its deficiency can increase the susceptibility to infection, leading to seasonal colds or flu.
Hair loss can be an early sign of Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays a role in the growth and maintenance of hair follicles. Thus, a lack of this vitamin can result in hair loss or slow hair growth.
Depression and Mood Swings
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating mood. A deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to depression and mood swings. If you feel down or anxious, it could be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency.
Problems Losing Weight
Difficulty losing weight may also suggest a vitamin D deficiency, as people with higher weight and fatty tissue are more likely to be deficient in the vitamin.
You can get vitamin D from your diet, sunlight, or supplements. Fatty fish such as trout, salmon, and tuna, UV-exposed mushrooms, egg yolks, and beef liver are natural food sources of vitamin D. Many foods such as dairy products, plant-based milk, breakfast cereals, and orange juice are fortified with vitamin D. Still, people who use sunscreen, who have higher melanin in their skin, spend most of their time indoors, or live in an area without a lot of sunshine or cities with high amounts of pollution are less likely to meet their daily vitamin D needs and may benefit from a supplement. Elderly, obese patients, nursing home residents, and hospitalized patients are at the most significant risk for vitamin D deficiency.
The amount of supplementation someone takes depends on whether they have a vitamin deficiency or not. The Endocrine Society recommends 37.5 to 50 mcg (1,500–2,000 IU)/day of supplemental vitamin D for adults and at least 25 mcg (1,000 IU)/day for children and adolescents. Lebovitz explained that a safe dose for people age 4 and over without signs of deficiency is 10 mcg or 400 IU/day. However, it’s important to note that vitamin D supplementation can be toxic or problematic at high levels, so it’s best to consult a medical provider before taking high doses of vitamin D without testing your blood.
How do you KNOW that vitamin D is the reason you’re dealing with one of these issues? A simple blood test can tell you! Get your levels checked, make a plan with your health care professional, and get those D levels where they belong!