Once considered an ageing problem, vitamin deficiencies have now become very common amongst all ages – especially teenagers and adolescents. It is during the growing years that one needs an extra dose of healthy vitamins and nutrients but instead of loading up on a balanced diet most people seem to be depending on supplements to meet various vitamin deficiencies that perhaps their diet cannot fulfil. Our sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and need for convenience are all to blame.
Vitamin D is one such essential nutrient that helps your bones grow and stay strong. More importantly, Vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium by the body. Vitamin D is primarily produced in your body when the sun’s ultraviolet rays strike the skin. Simply put, it is mostly obtained from sun exposure but it is also naturally present in some foods like mushrooms, soy milk, eggs and oily fish.
What puts you at risk?
Besides inadequate sun exposure and an unhealthy diet, Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons.
- People with dark skin may not be able to produce sufficient Vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure.
- Your kidneys may not be able to convert Vitamin D into usable form.
- Certain gut issues like Celiac Disease or Crohn’s Disease may prevent your intestines from absorbing the Vitamin D produced in the body.
- Being obese or overweight puts you at a higher risk as Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin.
Without sufficient Vitamin D, your bones can become thin and brittle. In severe cases, a Vitamin D deficiency may lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
If you’re not sure, here are seven signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. For some people, the symptoms may be very subtle, yet if you have been experiencing any of these regularly it’s best to consult your doctor at the earliest.
1. Feeling low and moody:; The activity of the brain hormone, serotonin, increases with sun exposure. Studies have shown the low levels of Vitamin d in the body affects the amount of feel-good chemicals in the brain that can make you moody and irritable most of the times.
2. Chronic Pain: You experience regular aches, muscle weakness and joint pains. People with low levels of Vitamin D are more sensitive to pain.
3. Constant fatigue: You feel tired and fatigued all the time even after being well rested. You may also feel lethargic and anxious. Adequate amount of Vitamin D in the body is known to boost our energy levels and increase muscle functions
4. Sweaty head: One of the most common signs of a Vitamin D deficiency is head sweating. In case of new-borns, a sweaty forehead is usually the first sign of Vitamin D deficiency.
5. Daytime sleepiness: A lot of studies indicate that people with low levels of Vitamin D are at a higher risk of experiencing daytime sleepiness and other sleep disorders.
6. Frequent flu attacks and respiratory infections: You may be prone to more allergies and infections since Vitamin D plays an important role in reducing inflammation and regulating the functions of the cells in your immune system.
7. Gum disease: Bleeding, reddening and swelling of the gums may also indicate low levels of Vitamin D.