Is Low D a Problem for You? The Scoop on Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
Some nutritionists call it the super vitamin. Regardless of whether that's an accurate description, too little vitamin D in your body is related to a variety of problems. For example, a recent study linked a lack of vitamin D with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), because 82 percent of IBS patients studied had low vitamin D levels. Overall, the CDC estimates that 32 percent of Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency symptoms.
It's well-known that a lack of vitamin D can affect your heart and bones, but the symptoms don't stop there: It can affect your mood, muscles, and more.
A Sampling of Symptoms
The following examples will underline the wide-ranging symptoms that show up because of Vitamin D deficiency:
- Weak muscles are one sign. Can't repeat your normal amount of reps during a workout? Feeling muscle cramps that weren't a problem before? A JAMA study found that adults with vitamin D deficiency have 20 percent more falls than people with normal levels.
- Joint pain, principally in the back and knees, is another indication, and inflammation in general acts as a warning.
- For newborns, a sweaty forehead is a common, early sign of low vitamin D, but it can also be a sign for adults.
- All these effects can lead to a general feeling of fatigue, and at its worst, you may experience depression. Studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show that people with the lowest vitamin D levels were 11 times more at risk of depression than people with normal levels. Researchers believe that vitamin D affects the brain in much the same way as hormones or serotonin.
How to Respond to Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
There are four actions you should take if you're troubled by any of the symptoms listed above:
- See your personal physician. These symptoms could also be pointing to other health issues. A few simple tests can confirm low vitamin D levels or determine other treatable causes.
- Go outside and get some sun. Various literature exists on the proper amount of sun you should absorb for a sufficient vitamin D boost. Glass lets in light but blocks out much of the beneficial part of the sun's rays, so if you can't go outside, open a window or door and let the sunshine it.
- Boost your body's vitamin D. Eat more fortified foods, fish (such as wild salmon or Atlantic mackerel), or supplements.
- Check the medications you're taking. Some pharmaceuticals interact negatively with vitamin D. For example, certain medications used to lower cholesterol reduce the absorption of vitamin D. Phenobarbital and dilantin speed the breakdown of vitamin D, and if you take prednisone or other corticosteroids, you may also want to watch for a low vitamin D level.
Great things are happening in the world all around us, but if you're experiencing symptoms related to low D -- whether pain, fatigue, bowel issues, or even depression -- you can't make the most of what's out there, so take action by properly diagnosing and treating your vitamin D deficiency.
Posted in Bone and Joint Health
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*This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute health care advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or physician before making health care decisions.