Vitamin D is an essential and extremely important vitamin for the human body.
We need vitamin D to thrive and function properly. It helps to power many systems in our bodies. While vitamin D is called a vitamin, it truly functions more like a hormone in the body. Every cell in the body contains a vitamin D receptor, making it more important than you likely ever thought.
To remain healthy and for the body to get enough vitamin D on a daily basis, it is recommended that you have between 400-8000 IU per day, but many experts think that people should be having more than that average recommendation.
This is likely because vitamin D deficiency is very common amongst the population. In fact, it is estimated than an average of one billion people suffers from a vitamin D deficiency, which means they have low levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream. According to one study , almost 42% of adults living in the United States have a vitamin D deficiency. In Hispanics the number rises to almost 70% and African Americans to 82%.
Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency
- Having darker colored skin
- Being a senior citizen
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of dairy and fish in diet
- Not getting enough sunlight on a daily basis/living far from the equator
- Staying inside too much
- Always using sunscreen when going outside
These are a few of the most common factors that play a role in vitamin D deficiencies. Of course, there are other potential reasons for a vitamin D deficiency, but chances are at least one of the above factors play a role in lack on vitamin D in your blood.
Symptoms of a Vitamin D Deficiency
If you have a vitamin D deficiency, you may realize you seem to be getting sick all the time. Vitamin D plays a major role in your body’s immune system and a lack of this vitamin can lower your immunity to common illnesses.
The feeling of being tired all of the time and always feeling fatigued despite how much you sleep can also be a symptom of a deficiency. There are so many different causes for fatigue and more often than not a vitamin D deficiency is overlooked. If you have been feeling tired all of the time and there are no known causes for your sleepiness, you may benefit from going to the doctor and having your vitamin D levels tested.
Bone and back pain are another common symptom. Pain in the bones in your ribs, legs, arms, etc., and pain in the lower back can be caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body.
Furthermore, there is a solid link between vitamin D deficiency and depression as well, although this is often another overlooked issue. Studies have found that people who suffered from depression had low levels in their blood. When they took a vitamin D supplement their mood and depression improved.
Muscle pain can be another common symptom as well. This would include feeling pain and aching in the muscles, perhaps without an apparent cause. Chronic pain has also been commonly associated and linked with very low vitamin D levels.
How to Fix a Vitamin D Deficiency
If you suspect you have a vitamin D deficiency it is best to have it confirmed by a doctor. Once you know for sure you can begin to take steps to increase the levels on the vitamin in your body.
One of the best ways to do this is through taking a high dose of prescription vitamin D from your doctor. These are potent vitamins that can effectively boost your levels.
Sitting outside in the sunshine is also a natural way to boost your levels. While you need to be careful about spending too much time in the sun, sunlight contains a lot of vitamin D and absorbs into your body well.
You can also increase the amount of food you eat that have high levels of vitamin. Foods that have lots of vitamin D include:
- Egg yolks
- Cod liver oil
These are just a few examples of foods that contain high levels of vitamin D and you should include more of in your diet.