Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to help build strong bones, to allow us to absorb calcium and phosphorus for bone development, and to help ward off infections and diseases. Unlike all other vitamins, Vitamin D is fat soluble and acts like a hormone, effecting the entire body.
Some risk factors for Vitamin D deficiency are if you:
- Live further from the equator, with less sun exposure
- Do not eat fatty fishes or consume fortified foods such as dairy, orange juice, or cereals
- Have darker skin tone (Darker skin blocks the suns natural rays and absorption of Vitamin D)
- Are elderly
- Always wear sunscreen or cover up your skin when exposed to sunshine
- Stay indoors most of the time
- Are overweight
Being deficient in Vitamin D is not always easy to detect on your own. Most symptoms can be subtle or mistaken as symptoms for another health-related condition. If you have some of the above risk factors, you may want to take a closer look at some of the common signs of Vitamin D deficiencies.
Here are some common effects of not getting enough Vitamin D:
- Frequently get sick or infections
- Chronically feeling tired or fatigued
- Have bone and lower back pains
- Feelings of depression, especially seasonal depression
- Have signs of bone loss and osteoporosis
- Prone to falls and fractures
- Severe hair loss
- Muscle weakness and pain
- Constant respiratory problems and asthma
- History of heart disease or hypertension
If you feel that you may not be getting enough Vitamin D, consult with your Doctor and have them run a test on your Vitamin D levels. If your levels are low, they will prescribe that you increase your Vitamin D intake.
The best sources to get Vitamin D are by:
- Sun exposure
- Eating fatty fish such as salmon
- Eating dairy and consuming other fortified foods
- Taking Vitamin D supplements
With supplements, ask your doctor or nutritionist about the amount you should take. Most recommend between 400 – 4,000 IUs depending on your current levels. As with everything, always consult with a health care professional, rather than self-diagnosing and prescribing.