How to tell if you’re vitamin D deficient

Published On: 14 June 2021By

Vitamin D is critical to your overall health and especially protection from illness. It is responsible for regulating the absorption of calcium (which is important to keep bones and teeth strong) and boosting your immune system. It is also needed for the production of new GcMAFplus® in the body and to help transport this in its role as a vitamin D binding protein. Because vitamin D helps us stay healthy in many different ways, a deficiency can have serious consequences. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs to look for. Making sure you have enough vitamin D will not only keep you healthy, but also assist the efficacy of GcMAFplus® supplemented via our products.

Where can I get vitamin D?

Exposure to sunlight triggers the process for your body to make its own vitamin D. You can also get it from eating foods such as fatty fish, cheese and egg yolks, although it’s worth noting that it’s difficult to get sufficient vitamin D just from your diet. There are also numerous Vitamin D supplements available in capsule and liquid formats to get your daily recommended amounts from too.

How common is vitamin D deficiency?

It’s very common to be vitamin D deficient. A study found that 41.6% of adults in the US are vitamin D deficient, while 69.2% of people of Hispanic ethnicity and 82.1% of African-Americans suffer from this deficiency.

What are the risk factors for vitamin D deficiency?

There are a number of factors that put you at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency:

  • Being older
  • Being darker-skinned
  • Living a long way from the equator
  • Being overweight
  • Not eating a lot of dairy products or fish
  • Spending lots of time indoors
  • Always using sunscreen

What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

While the signs of vitamin D deficiency are not necessarily obvious, it can have a major impact on your health and wellbeing.

Take a look at the symptoms listed below and see if they resonate with you.

1. Frequent sickness or infections

People with vitamin D deficiency may suffer from frequent bouts of sickness or infections. This makes sense as we know that one of the vitamin’s roles is to keep your immune system healthy.

Research has shown that if you’re vitamin D deficient, you’re more likely to get respiratory tract infections, as shown in this review that looks at how deficiency affects children.

2. Chronic fatigue

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the factors behind chronic fatigue.

A study involving female nurses found a link between vitamin D and tiredness. In fact, 89 per cent of the nurses surveyed were found to be deficient.

Another study found that merely having insufficient levels of the vitamin, and not necessarily being deficient, was enough to impair quality of life.

3. Suffering from bone or back pain

A number of studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with chronic lower back pain. This far-reaching study looked at over 9,000 post-menopausal women and found a strong link to back pain and inability to carry out normal everyday tasks.

We already know that the vitamin helps maintain healthy bones, partly through improving the absorption of calcium. It’s no wonder that a lack of it can cause bone or back pain.

4. Depression

Some studies have found a link between low levels of vitamin D and depression. This has been found to be especially true of older adults, as this review from 2016 suggests.

Increasing your dosage of vitamin D could also help with seasonal low mood. In this study nine women with low levels of vitamin D were given supplements. After reassessment, the group reported an improvement in their mood.

5. Slow-healing wounds

Wounds that heal slowly after injury or surgery could be a tell-tale sign of vitamin D deficiency.

We know from research that vitamin D helps increase the production of growth factor beta 1, a compound that helps new skin grow, controls inflammation and fights infection.

A randomized controlled trial looking at vitamin D deficient people with leg ulcers found that the wounds reduced by an average of 28 per cent when patients were given supplements of the vitamin.

6. Bone loss

We already know that vitamin D plays an important role in keeping bones healthy.

A strong relationship was proven between low levels of vitamin D and low bone mineral density in a study of 1,100 middle-aged females.

The findings suggest that it’s important to keep your vitamin D levels elevated as you get older to protect the health of your bones.

7. Hair loss

While there is not a huge amount of research on the subject, some studies have linked alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss, with low vitamin D levels.

This study found a strong connection between the two and concluded that a low level of vitamin D is a risk factor for alopecia areata.

8. Muscular pain

Vitamin D can be a factor in muscular pain. This is because vitamin D receptors occur in special pain-detecting nerve cells.

We also know from studies including this one that taking a vitamin D supplement may lessen pain in people who are deficient in the vitamin.

Know the signs to get help

Recognizing that you have a vitamin D deficiency is not always easy as the symptoms can be generalized. But knowing what the signs are can set you on the path to help. The only way to know for sure is to seek advice from your doctor and have your blood checked for levels of this essential vitamin. If you are deficient, then the good news is that low levels of vitamin D can be boosted easily. You can go out in the sun more, eat more foods rich in vitamin D or use supplements.