Vitamin D Deficiency: The Top Signs and symptoms

Vitamin D is considered to be one of the most potent vitamins as compared to others. It is responsible for carrying out some of the main functions of the body. Why? Vitamin D functions similar to that of a hormone – and every body cell needs it.[1]

Your body, when exposed to sunlight, starts making vitamin D from cholesterol. Apart from the natural process, vitamin D can also be obtained from different foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products.[2] But to solely gain the recommended amount of vitamin D from your diet is a little difficult.

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common problems. As per estimations, around 1 billion people globally are victims of vitamin D deficiency. The RDI or recommended daily intake of vitamin D as per professionals is 400-800IU.

Studies (2011) have shown that in the U.S., around 41.6% of adults are victims of Vitamin D deficiency. This, however, is high for African-American ls and Hispanics.[3]

What are the risk factors of vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency in the body can be extremely problematic, especially for people with an improper lifestyle. But, on the contrary, there are several risk factors involved, which is why one needs to be careful. Some of the prominent risk factors of vitamin D deficiency include

As suggested, the sun is one of the main sources of Vitamin D, not getting enough of sunlight will make you prone to vitamin D deficiency.[4] People who live around the tropical regions of the world get most of the light, and thus their bodies produce enough vitamin D to meet the daily requirements.

Vitamin D deficiency does not show grave symptoms, which is why people don’t realize that they lack vitamin D. Spotting vitamin D deficiency can be pretty tough, but it will surely have a lot of negative impact on your body.

The Top Signs of Vitamin D deficiency that You Need to Watch For

Wondering what the top signs of Vitamin D deficiency is? Let us take a look at the possible symptoms below.

  • Being sick often

Have you been sick lately? The chances are that your body isn’t getting enough vitamin D. The main function of vitamin D is to keep your immune system at bay and fight off bacterias and viruses that may be the potential causes of illness.[5]

Vitamin D works in close association with cells that can help to fight off bacteria and prevent rising infection. However, if you have been falling sick lately, such as becoming prone to flu and low vitamin D levels, there are high chances that you are suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency in the body can cause several respiratory problems, too, such as cold, bronchitis, and pneumonia.[6] Studies have shown that people taking a dosage of 4000 IU for vitamin D supplements can play an essential role in reducing respiratory tract infection.

Another study has shown that people taking a high dosage of vitamin D were able to curb down chronic lung disorders, COPD.

  • Bone and Back Pain

Vitamin D is one of the most required vitamins for the proper development of bone because it plays an important role in calcium absorption.

However, if you have been feeling bone and back pain, the chances are that your body is suffering from vitamin D deficiency.[7] Several studies have found a close relationship between vitamin D deficiency and chronic low back pain.

The back pain may worsen so much due to vitamin D deficiency that it can hinder the daily lifestyle of the person too.

Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency is also responsible for causing pain around rib and leg joints.

  • Bone loss

As stated above, Vitamin D is one of the most required vitamins for bone since it helps in absorption and boosting bone metabolism.

Older adults are the most prone to bone loss, and to prevent it, they need to take their RDI vitamin supplement dosage. Although they need the calcium the most, vitamin D can be of great help too.

Low mineral density is one of the most common signs that your body doesn’t have enough calcium.[8] As a result, mostly adult and elderly women are prone to the risk of bone fractures and problematic healing.

Studies have shown that a high dosage of vitamin D supplements has helped in improving bone mineral density.

Apart from that, one should keep a close check on their diet and maintain vitamin D and blood glucose levels at optimal levels to ensure a faster recovery.

  • Depression

Depression is one of the major signs of a lack of vitamin D in the body. Studies have shown that a lack of vitamin D can be directly linked to depression, mostly in older adults.

Nonetheless, no robust findings have been made to determine the straight connection between the two. But, few studies have shown that the consumption of vitamin D supplements can help boost the mood.[9]

It is essential to take a controlled amount of vitamin D supplements to boost the overall mood.

  • Muscle pain and Hair Loss

Sure, hair loss and muscle pain can happen because of different factors. Often, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason of it. However, Vitamin D deficiency can be risk factors of developing the disease. For instance, people who suffer from rickets have soft bones – primarily due to Vitamin D deficiency. Evidence suggests that its deficiency can lead to muscle pain in both children and adults.[10]

What is the test for vitamin D?

The presence of vitamin D in your 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test is a common way to find out vitamin D deficiency. For healthy people, the level is 20-50ng/mL. But vitamin deficit people have less than 12ng/mL.

You may consider visiting a healthcare professional and bringing some changes in your diet to find out the best way to treat vitamin D deficiency in the body.[11] But, it is very much necessary for you to spend some time in the sun if your body is vitamin D deficiency.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/

[2]  Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007;357:266–81. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

[3] Autier P, Gandini S. Vitamin D supplementation and total mortality: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1730–7. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

[4] Malabanan A, Veronikis IE, Holick MF. Redefining vitamin D insufficiency. Lancet. 1998;351:805–6. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56061/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6365669/

[7] Dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D. Washington DC: The National Academies Press; 2011. IOM (Institute of Medicine) [Google Scholar]

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441912/

[9] Holick MF, Chen TC. Vitamin D deficiency: A worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87:1080S–6S. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532266/

[11] Wortsman J, Matsuoka LY, Chen TC, Lu Z, Holick MF. Decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:690–3. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

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